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    GYNECOLOGY 110: Vaccines Are Not Just For Children

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | February 26th, 2017

    GYNECOLOGY 110: Vaccines Are Not Just For Children

    Vaccines save lives. They are given to prevent diseases. For example, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is given to prevent cervical cancer and the flu vaccine is given to prevent the flu. Are vaccines 100% effective? No, however they do a good job in reducing your risk of getting a disease.

    The vaccines that are available to adults include: Influenza (flu) vaccine, Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Td/Tdap), Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), Varicella (chickenpox), Herpes zoster (shingles), Human papillomavirus (HPV), Pneumococcal (pneumonia), Hepatitis A,  Hepatitis B, Meningococcal (meningitis), Haemophilus influenza B.

    Not all vaccines are required for everyone. It will depend on your age and your medical history. Take the Adolescent and Adult Vaccine Quiz to find out what vaccine you need to get.

    When it comes to vaccines, I wanted to share some truths:

    The flu vaccine does not cause you to get the flu – It just happens that flu vaccines are given at the same time that colds are common. The flu vaccine will not prevent a cold.

    Just because you get the HPV vaccine does not mean that you are having sex – the preference is to get the HPV vaccine before you are sexually active. The best time to get it is around 11 – 12 years old.

    Even if you have been diagnosed with HPV, you can still get the HPV vaccine – You can get the HPV vaccine up to age 26 years old.

    Boys can get the HPV vaccine – HPV is a sexually transmitted disease so it would make sense that the vaccine is available to girls and boys.

    You can get the flu vaccine when you are pregnant – Catching the flu when pregnant can be dangerous and life threatening. It is important to get the vaccine during flu season when pregnant.

    Tdap is given with each pregnancy – this is really to protect the child from getting whooping cough which can be deadly for the infant since they are not fully protected until they are about 18 months old.

    Herpes zoster vaccine protects against shingles, not genital herpes – If you have had chicken pox, you are at risk for shingles. Shingles is not sexually transmitted.

    MMR vaccine and varicella vaccine should not be given when you are pregnant – MMR and varicella vaccines are live vaccines and should be given after the pregnancy if needed.

    If you do not have insurance, it may be cheaper to get the vaccine at a Health Department or pharmacy – shop around.

    When traveling outside of the country, go to CDC traveler guide to find out what vaccines are needed.

    If you have any questions regarding vaccines that may be offered to you, talk with your provider – ask all your questions – You may have your reasons for not getting a particular vaccine, the goal is not to force you to get a vaccine, but to make sure that your decisions are based on being well educated.

    Get your family and friends to take the quiz.





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