Are Your Vaccinations Up to Date?

Measles, smallpox, and polio are just a few of the many diseases we’ve all but eliminated through vaccines. Unfortunately, the bacteria and viruses that cause these serious conditions still exist, so if you haven’t been vaccinated against them, you’re at high risk. 

At WiseCare Urgent Care in Pasadena and Severna Park, Maryland, we offer all the vaccinations you need to keep you and your family safe from these preventable diseases. Dr. Perry Wiesman and our experienced team can help you determine which vaccines you may still need. 

Although there’s no guarantee you’ll never get sick, most vaccinated people avoid the diseases altogether. And those who do become ill even after they've received an immunization generally have a much milder case.

What’s a vaccine?

When a virus invades your body, and you get a disease like measles, your immune system goes to work, producing antibodies to fight that particular pathogen. If and when you overcome the disease, those antibodies remain in your system and remember the disease if it revisits in the future.

Vaccines work the same way, but you don’t have to catch the disease. Using a small sample of the weakened or dead virus, the vaccine gives your immune system just enough of the pathogen to trigger the production of antibodies, but not enough to make you sick.

Which vaccines do I need and when?

Some immunizations are best given to newborns to keep them safe from known diseases, such as diphtheria, polio, hepatitis B, whooping cough, and tetanus. At about one month of age, babies receive their first shots. 

The CDC publishes the recommended vaccine schedule for infants, young children, teens, and adults. Some immunizations need more than one injection to build up immunity, and some wear off over the years and require a booster. 

In addition to these standard vaccinations, Dr. Weisman recommends an annual flu shot to help protect you from the latest strain of the flu virus. And for our patients age 50 and above, we recommend the zoster vaccination to prevent shingles.

How do I know if my vaccinations are up to date?

Unfortunately, it can be tricky to know whether you’re up to date on your vaccines. Since there’s no central hub of immunization information, you need to rely on personal records. One of the easiest and most common ways is to check your immunization records, which parents often keep in a baby book or a medical file. 

If you don’t have access to your childhood and adult vaccination records, you can try to recreate your records by contacting your pediatrician or family physician. If you’ve moved frequently and had several doctors, you may not be able to obtain a complete record. Sometimes, schools, military organizations, and some workplaces require proof of vaccinations, so it may help to see if they still have your information.

If none of these sources can help you recreate your immunization records, you may need to start from scratch. While this isn’t the best-case scenario, it’s the best way to keep yourself and others safe from these infectious diseases. 

What about the COVID-19 vaccination?

The state of Maryland is distributing COVID-19 vaccinations in phases. The first phase, 1A, provided the vaccine for healthcare workers, nursing home staff and residents, corrections and public safety officers, and first responders. Phase 1B covered those in assisted and communal living situations, educators, those essential for the continuity of government, and people 75 and older. 

We are currently in phase 1C, so anyone in the earlier phases is still eligible, plus essential workers in agriculture, manufacturing, postal service, and adults between 65 and 74. Check the state’s website for future phases, vaccination sites, and more details about who’s eligible and when.

If you think there might be gaps in your vaccines, bring whatever records you have to us, and we can help you determine whether you need any more shots to prevent serious illnesses. Contact us at either of our two locations in Pasadena or Severna Park, Maryland, today. 

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