Apr 24, 2020

Take it from a nurse, here's why you should get vaccinated.

My name is Jaime Young and I am a Registered Nurse, a Family Nurse Practitioner Student at UNR, and an intern at Immunize Nevada.  As a healthcare provider, I know the importance of remaining up to date with vaccines and the good it can do for our families, communities, and the world as a whole. 


Vaccines are an important part of healthcare around the globe. Now more than ever, it is important to make sure we are up to date on recommended vaccines.  During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have seen the devastation that can occur when there is a highly contagious disease with no treatment and no vaccine to prevent it.


Vaccines are an important way to prevent the spread of contagious viral diseases, such as influenza and measles. Vaccines are also used to prevent infections that can be spread by bacteria, such as pneumonia and meningitis.  By being up to date with vaccines, it helps lessen the burden of diseases that can be prevented, so healthcare can focus its fight on COVID-19 and other emergency diagnoses.  We all need to do our part in this fight against COVID-19, and avoiding vaccine preventable diseases helps lessen the burden to the healthcare system. 


Vaccinations are still being provided during this time during wellness visits.  If you have a child, it is important that they remain up to date with the CDC’s vaccine schedule.  This will allow them to not become ill with a vaccine preventable illness while the world is dealing with a non-preventable illness.  This is the time to keep our children out of the hospital and safe at home.  Vaccines can help with this. 


As an adult, there are vaccines that are recommended for you as well.  Influenza vaccines are recommended every year. Influenza is a virus that is spread between humans, causing you to get fever, chills, and muscle aches.  During the 2018-2019 influenza season, approximately 34,000 died of influenza.  Getting vaccinated during influenza season helps protect yourself and those around you.  If you are 65 or older, you should also be vaccinated against pneumonia.  Pneumonia is a bacterial infection that is in your lungs that causes a fever, cough, and can lead to hospitalization.  Approximately 49,000 people in the US died of pneumonia in 2017.  Pneumonia vaccines protect people from the most common forms of pneumonia.


There are places to get vaccinated in Nevada during the COVD-19 outbreak.  Public health departments and medical offices are giving routine vaccines, but you should call ahead to make an appointment.  Pharmacies in supermarkets and drug stores offer vaccines, so you could get it done while out shopping for essentials.  Here is a list of places that offer vaccines in Nevada: https://immunizenevada.org/why-immunize/where-get-immunized.  Vaccines for Children (VFC) is a program to help provide low to no cost vaccines to children that qualify.  You can find information about VCF at the following website: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/parents/qa-detailed.html.  I know that this is a scary and unpredictable time for families, but I urge you to continue to prevent diseases when at all possible. 

Wash your hands, cover your cough, practice social distancing, and be up to date with vaccines to help reduce the burden to healthcare and help get us through this uncertain time.

References
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Estimated influenza illness, medical visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States- 2018-2019 influenza seasons.  Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2018-2019.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Pneumonia. Retrieved 

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