Vaccines/immunizations are a critical part of maintaining your overall health, but it can be challenging to know if you or your family members are fully covered. Fortunately, Venkata Vallury, MD, and the team at Redwood Family Health Center in Farmers Branch and McKinney, Texas, offer comprehensive immunization services and can help make sure you’re on track for full immune protection. Call the nearest office to set up an immunization review or request an appointment online today.
Vaccines can be thought of as training drills for your body’s natural immune system. They are also among the most powerful tools in global health. Areas of the world where certain diseases were once common and deadly are now largely free of those infections due to the availability of modern vaccines.
Polio is a great example of the importance of vaccines. In the early 1900s, polio was common throughout the world, leaving hundreds of thousands of people paralyzed. Two vaccines were developed by 1950 but were not readily available in many parts of the world, including Africa.
Thanks to mass vaccination campaigns and a united worldwide effort to eradicate polio, the disease has been largely eliminated around the globe, with the notable exceptions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The terms “vaccine” and “immunization” are often used interchangeably, but immunization is the process of creating immunity, while vaccines are the tools used to reach that goal.
A good way to think about vaccines is to consider how germs make you sick. Bacteria, parasites, funguses, and viruses are all pathogens, meaning they can create disease within the human body.
Your immune system is a powerful defense against those diseases and can recognize a potential pathogen and launch a powerful immune response almost immediately. Each pathogen creates a specific antigen, which triggers your immune system to create antibodies to recognize and fight off those antigens.
Once your body produces antibodies, they remain in your system for the rest of your life, ready to spring into action if you ever encounter that specific antigen in the future. Even better, your immune response is much faster if and when you encounter a pathogen more than once.
While this natural immune response is incredibly powerful, many pathogens are so dangerous that they can overwhelm your body before your immune system has time to fully react. That’s where vaccines come in.
Vaccines are manufactured to contain an inactive or weakened portion of an antigen. The formulation is strong enough to trigger your body’s natural immune response but not so strong as to make you sick.
This allows your immune system to “train” to fight a wide variety of diseases without having to go through a full infection and response cycle.
There are clear guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding vaccines for both adults and children. While the list is lengthy, our team can review your health record and determine if gaps need to be filled.
It’s not uncommon for kids or adults to have gaps in their vaccination records. Fortunately, getting the necessary vaccines is a simple process with our team at Redwood Family Health Center. Many vaccines can be administered during one visit, but it’s also possible to spread multiple vaccines out over time.
Vaccines are delivered via injection. This allows the vaccine to enter your bloodstream immediately, where it can get to work, boosting your immunity.
If you have questions or concerns about vaccines/immunizations, call the nearest office to set up an appointment or request one online today.