Older man with white hair wears a mask while getting a vaccination from a healthcare worker wearing a mask and gloves

Thursday, August 13, 2020

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and it is important to make sure you and your family stay up to date on all of your vaccinations, even during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Why are vaccines important?

Vaccinations are important for people of all ages because:

  • Prevention is better than a cure
  • Vaccinations are the best prevention of overall health, along with diet and exercise
  • Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases still occur in the United States
  • Vaccines are one thing we can do to keep our children safe and prevent illness
  • Vaccines are needed through all stages of life to prevent communicable diseases

“Vaccinations will keep you healthy. Your family, friends and coworkers need you,” said Rohitha Inturi, MD, board-certified family medicine physician at Norman Regional Primary Care – NW Norman. “It is important to keep up with immunizations to prevent the spread of all diseases.”

Vaccinations are not only important for yourself, but also to keep others in your community safe, said Shaylea Beach, DO, board-certified family medicine physician at Norman Regional Primary Care – Robinson Medical Plaza.

“One of the most important things about vaccines is when all of us who are eligible to receive vaccines do so, it creates herd immunity to help protect others who are unable to receive vaccines from getting sick of drying from serious vaccine-preventable diseases,” Dr. Beach said. “Basically, choosing to vaccinate is something you can do for yourself and/or your children, but also the safety of your community at large.”

The CDC offers a parent-friendly schedule of vaccinations from birth to 6 years and another from 7-18 years. They also offer resources for parents.

Are vaccinations safe?

The United States’ long-standing vaccine safety program closely and constantly monitors the safety of vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Measures are implemented by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure vaccine safety. The CDC’s Immunization Safety Office identifies possible vaccine side effects and conducts studies to determine if any health problems are caused by vaccines. The CDC also states that data shows current U.S. vaccine supply is the safest in history.

“Vaccines are the safest prevention and can mean the difference between life and death,” Dr. Inturi said. “Vaccines don’t give you the disease, they prevent them.”

For answers to common questions about vaccine safety, visit the CDC’s website.

Is it safe to go to the doctor’s office for vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic?

In May, the CDC reported sharp drop-offs beginning in mid-March for pediatric vaccines ordered and being given, and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated up to 80 million babies globally were missing recommended vaccinations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Essential adult immunizations are also being neglected at this time, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Even during the current pandemic and while practicing social distancing, it is important to not practice medical distancing. Your healthcare providers are open and ready to treat you. Well-child visits and vaccinations are still essential services that help keep you and your family protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. It’s important to work with you and/or your child’s doctor’s office to stay up to date on routine vaccines.

“Those vaccines prevent outbreaks of serious disease that are an even bigger threat to children than COVID-19,” said Casey Markland, MD, board-certified family medicine physician at Norman Regional Primary Care - Moore. “Measles, whooping cough and meningitis are big concerns. Delaying those immunizations could cause serious problems.”

If you or your child are due for an annual visit, call your doctor’s office and ask about the safety measures they have in place to keep their patients safe when they come in for appointments. Norman Regional is taking extra steps, such as wearing masks and spacing out appointments, to ensure our patients’ safety and would be happy to explain any of our safety measures to our patients to help them feel more comfortable coming in.

Find a doctor

If you are in need of a doctor to schedule you or your child’s annual vaccines, Norman Regional Health System is here to help. You can use our online Find a Provider tool or you can simply call our Community Call Center at 405-515-5000 for our experts to match and schedule you with a provider that’s right for you.