Immunization Season is here – here’s what you need to know:

By Tiffany Wright, MSM, CHP, CSP , Chief Executive Officer

August is national immunization month, but here at Dean’s Professional Services we talk about immunizations daily. Because we work in the healthcare industry and provide temporary and long-term staff for healthcare facilities, it is our responsibility to educate our field staff and the community about the importance of immunizations. And of course, we are moving quickly toward back to school season and there’s millions of parents getting ready to jump into the world of immunization requirements for their students. Here’s some important information for both those looking to and currently working in the healthcare industry and the general public.

First, as a healthcare worker or employee in a healthcare facility, your risk of exposure is higher. Therefore, all healthcare facilities will require that you have specific immunizations before starting your job or assignment. Some of the most common vaccines needed for healthcare workers are:

  • MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella)

  • Hepatitis B

  • Varicella

  • Flu Vaccine (in season)

  • Tdap (Tetanus / Diptheria / Pertussis)

What are vaccines and immunizations anyway?

As stated on the World Health Organization’s website, immunization is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine. The vaccine stimulates the body’s own immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease.

From a larger perspective, however, immunizations are a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to avert between 2 and 3 million deaths each year. It is by far one of the most cost-effective world-wide health strategies that make it accessible to even the most hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations.

Here’s some important things to know about immunizations:

  1. According to the (CDC), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, thousands of American adults get sick from diseases that vaccines can prevent. Specifically, patients with chronic conditions like asthma or COPD, vaccines are an important step in protecting their health from serious diseases like influenza and pneumonia.

  2. Vaccines are one of the safest ways for you to protect your health, even if you are taking prescription medications. Vaccine side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. Severe side effects are very rare.

  3. Adults can get vaccines at doctors’ offices, pharmacies, workplaces, community health clinics, health departments and other locations.

  4. Most health plans cover recommended vaccines.

  5. Infants, elderly and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases.

  6. On-time vaccinations throughout childhood are essential.

What’s all the talk about the safety of vaccines?

The truth is vaccines are very safe. According to the CDC, not only are vaccines tested and monitored, but vaccines go through years of testing before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grants the license to utilize them.  And they are tracked by both the CDC and FDA to ensure the safety of these vaccines. In addition, vaccine side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. The most common side effects include soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given.

Regardless of what you’ve heard or think its important to ensure that you go to the sources with accurate information and have a good understanding of what is right for you. Your immunizations belong to you, take control of your healthcare and know what immunizations you have had and need. Many people just don’t know what vaccines they’ve received, aren’t aware of the fact that many immunizations require a series of vaccinations and that some have expiration dates. 

Several states have implemented an immunization registry for the public. In Texas, the Texas Department of State Health Services offers ImmTrac2, an immunization registry at no cost to the public. To increase participation and vaccine coverage, DSHS created a way for authorized organizations to participate in providing and updating those records and for Texans to request their records for free.

Here are some great sources for further reading on immunizations:

World Health Organization - https://www.who.int/topics/immunization/en/

Center for Disease Control - https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html

Texas ImmTrac2 - https://www.dshs.texas.gov/immunize/immtrac/

Dean’s Professional Services is a national, award-winning staffing solutions firm. Since 1993, we’ve placed over 40,000 professionals in the healthcare and hospitality industry. For more information about Dean’s Professional Services visit www.deansprofessionalservices.com or dps-connect.com.