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    What Vaccines Do You Need?

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | August 16th, 2020

    What Vaccines Do You Need?

    Here is the million dollar question – When the coronavirus vaccine is available, will you be the first one lining up to get it? For me, I really do not know.  Most vaccines take 5 – 10 years to develop. If this vaccine comes out anytime within the next two years, it will be one of the fastest to be available. I guess like the rest of you, I will have to wait and see.

    While we wait to see about the coronavirus vaccine, there are many vaccines that have stood the test of time. There are vaccines that are currently available that save lives and yet there are so many people that have not taken advantage of these vaccines. August is National Immunization Awareness Month. This is a reminder that getting your vaccines is an essential medical service for you and your children.

    I have my favorite five:

    1. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine – I have told you in the past that this vaccine is to help reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer. It was recently approved for oropharyngeal (mouth and throat) cancer prevention. When this vaccine first came out, I was excited. To think that there is a vaccine that can prevent cancer is just amazing.
    2. Tetanus, Diphteria, Pertussis (Tdap) vaccine – No child should die of whooping cough when we have this vaccine available. Anyone who has the potential to be next to an infant should get this vaccine. Even if you are not next to an infant, getting tetanus and diphtheria can be deadly. This vaccine saves lives.
    3. Meningococcal vaccine – The most tragic story to hear is about that young person who goes away to college and dies due to meningitis. Did he or she get the vaccine? NO. Most get the first dose at age 11 – 12 and think that is it. The recommendation is to get a second dose at age 16. Make sure our young people get their second dose.
    4. Hepatitis B vaccine – We can prevent severe liver disease including liver cancer. Here is the word cancer again. It has the ability to prevent cancer. Get the vaccine.
    5. Influenza (FLU) vaccine – It is not out yet for the season, but when it does come out, I will be getting this vaccine. I cannot imagine what would happen if someone gets the coronavirus and influenza. No one is sure if getting the flu would put you more at risk for the coronavirus. There are so many unknowns that it just make sense to get the vaccine that we do know about – the FLU vaccine.

    Use this tool to find out what vaccines you need – click here.

    Some reminders – wear your facial covering (masks), wash your hands, maintain social distancing and get your vaccines.

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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.

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