What You Need to Know
- COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness.
- Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection.
- None of the COVID-19 vaccines can give you COVID-19.
- Bringing new vaccines to the public involves various steps, all which must be followed before they are made available for use.
How COVID-19 Vaccines Work
- COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness.
It typically takes a few weeks after vaccination for the body to produce T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes. Therefore, it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection.
Sometimes after vaccination, the process of building immunity can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal signs the body is building immunity.
Hepatitis A & B Vaccine Series
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.
How serious is hepatitis A?
Most people who get hepatitis A feel sick for several weeks, but they usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. In rare cases, hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death; this is more common in people older than 50 and in people with other liver diseases.
What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease. The virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person.
How can Hepatitis B be prevented?
There is a 3 shot Hepatitis B vaccine.
Who needs the Hepatitis B series?
Anyone who has not had their Hepatitis B vaccine, and has not recovered from a Hepatitis B infection.
CDC recommends that adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix (recombinant zoster vaccine) to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease. Adults 19 years and older who have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix, as they have a higher risk of getting shingles and related complications.
Your doctor or pharmacist can give you Shingrix as a shot in your upper arm.
Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and PHN. In adults 50 years and older who have healthy immune systems, Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Immunity stays strong for at least the first 7 years after vaccination. In adults with weakened immune systems, studies show that Shingrix is 68%-91% effective in preventing shingles, depending on the condition that affects the immune system.
Who Should Get Shingrix?
Adults 50 years and older should get two doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months. Adults 19 years and older who have or will have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix. If needed, people with weakened immune systems can get the second dose 1 to 2 months after the first.
You should get Shingrix even if in the past you:
- Had shingles
- Received Zostavax*
- Received varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
If you had shingles in the past, Shingrix can help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time that you need to wait after having shingles before you can receive Shingrix, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has gone away before getting vaccinated.
Chickenpox and shingles are related because they are caused by the same virus (varicella-zoster virus). After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the body. It can reactivate years later and cause shingles.
- You can get Shingrix whether or not you remember having had chickenpox in the past.
- More than 99% of Americans born on or before 1980 have had chickenpox, even if they don’t remember having the disease.
- Adults with weakened immune systems and no documented history of chickenpox disease, chickenpox vaccination, or shingles should talk to their healthcare provider, who can refer to the CDC Clinical Considerations for Use of Recombinant Zoster Vaccine (RZV, Shingrix) in Immunocompromised Adults Aged ≥19 Years | CDC and Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccination | CDC for further guidance.
Shingrix is available in doctor’s offices and pharmacies.
If you have questions about Shingrix, talk with your healthcare provider.
* A shingles vaccine called zoster vaccine live (Zostavax) is no longer available for use in the United States, as of November 18, 2020. If you had Zostavax in the past, you should still get Shingrix. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best time to get Shingrix.
Two doses of the vaccine are about 90% effective at preventing chickenpox. When you get vaccinated, you protect yourself and others in your community. This is especially important for people who cannot get vaccinated, such as those with weakened immune systems or pregnant women.
Some people who are vaccinated against chickenpox may still get the disease. However, it is usually milder with fewer blisters and little or no fever. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have questions about chickenpox vaccine.
Who needs a flu vaccine?
Anyone over the age of 6 months.
Who shouldn't get the flu vaccine?
Children younger than 6 months are to young to receive the flu vaccine. People with history of Guillain-Barré. Syndome ( also called GBS). People who are severely allergic to the any part of the vaccine. Most but not all vaccines contain a small amount of egg protein.
Why do you need a flu vaccine?
A flu vaccine can prevent the virus influenza. Influenza can cause high fever, vomiting, aching joints, upset stomach, stuffy nose, and can typically last a week.
When should you get the flu vaccine?
You should get the vaccine more than two weeks before the flu spreads in your community. Influenza activity often begins to increase in October and November. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February and can last as late as May.
What is Pneumonia?
Lung inflammation caused by bacterial or viral infection, in which the air sacs fill with pus and may become solid. Inflammation may affect both lungs (double pneumonia), one lung (single pneumonia), or only certain lobes (lobar pneumonia).
Who should get vaccinated?
CDC recommends 2 pneumococcal vaccines for all adults 65 years or older. You should receive a dose of PCV13 first, followed by a dose of PPSV23, at least 1 year later. If you already received any doses of PPSV23, get the dose of PCV13 at least 1 year after the most recent PPSV23 dose.
What is TDAP?
TDAP stand for Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis. These are three very serious diseases.
What is Tetanus?
Also known as lockjaw, Tetanus can cause stiffening of the muscles all over the body. It can lead to tightening of muscles in the head and neck so you can’t open your mouth, swallow, or sometimes even breathe. Tetanus kills about 1 out of 10 people who are infected even after receiving the best medical care.
What is Diphtheria?
It can cause a thick coating to form in the back of the throat leading to breathing problems, heart failure, paralysis, and death.
What is Pertussis?
Also known as Whooping Cough it can cause severe coughing spells, which can cause difficulty breathing, vomiting, and disturbed sleep.
Who needs the TDAP vaccine?
All adults who did not get Tdap vaccine as an adolescent should get one dose of this vaccine. Once they have had this dose, a Td booster should be given every 10 years. Pregnant women should get a dose of Tdap vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of each pregnancy, preferably during the earlier part of this time period.
Who shouldn't get the TDAP vaccine?
- A person who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a previous dose of any diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis containing vaccine, OR has a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine, should not get Tdap vaccine. Tell the person giving the vaccine about any severe allergies.
- Anyone who had coma or long repeated seizures within 7 days after a childhood dose of DTP or DTaP, or a previous dose of Tdap, should not get Tdap, unless a cause other than the vaccine was found. They can still get Td.
- Talk to your doctor if you:
- have seizures or another nervous system problem,
- had severe pain or swelling after any vaccine containing diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis,
- ever had a condition called Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS),
- aren’t feeling well on the day the shot is scheduled.
CDC recommends that people get MMR vaccine to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella. Children should get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination. Two MMR vaccines are available for use in the United States, M-M-R II and PRIORIX. M-M-R II and PRIORIX are fully interchangeable for all indications for which MMR vaccination is recommended. Children may also get MMRV vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). This vaccine is only licensed for use in children who are 12 months through 12 years of age.
Who Should Get MMR Vaccine?
CDC recommends all children get two doses of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Children can receive the second dose earlier as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.
Learn about MMRV vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). This vaccine is only licensed for use in children who are 12 months through 12 years of age.
Students at post-high school educational institutions
Students at post-high school educational institutions who do not have presumptive evidence of immunity need two doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.
Adults who do not have presumptive evidence of immunity should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine.
Certain adults may need 2 doses. Adults who are going to be in a setting that poses a high risk for measles or mumps transmission should make sure they have had two doses separated by at least 28 days. These adults include
- students at post-high school education institutions
- healthcare personnel
- international travelers
People 6 months of age and older who will be traveling internationally should be protected against measles. Before any international travel—
- Infants 6 through 11 months of age should receive one dose of MMR vaccine. Infants who get one dose of MMR vaccine before their first birthday should get two more doses (one dose at 12 through 15 months of age and another dose separated by at least 28 days).
- Children 12 months of age and older should receive two doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.
- Teenagers and adults who do not have presumptive evidence of immunity against measles should get two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.
Healthcare personnel should have documented presumptive evidence of immunity, according to the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Healthcare personnel without evidence of immunity should get two doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.
Women of Childbearing Age
Women of childbearing age should check with their doctor to make sure they are vaccinated before they get pregnant. Women of childbearing age who are not pregnant and do not have presumptive evidence of immunity should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine.
It is safe for breastfeeding women to receive MMR vaccination. Breastfeeding does not interfere with the response to MMR vaccine, and the baby will not be affected by the vaccine through breast milk.
Groups at increased risk for mumps because of a mumps outbreak
During a mumps outbreak, public health authorities might recommend an additional dose of MMR vaccine for people who belong to groups at increased risk for getting mumps. These groups are usually those who are likely to have close contact, such as sharing sport equipment or drinks, kissing, or living in close quarters, with a person who has mumps. Your local public health authorities or institution will communicate to the groups at increased risk that they should receive this dose. If you already have two doses of MMR, it is not necessary to seek out vaccination unless you are part of this group.