Orlando F. Mills, MD, MPH

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Vaccine Decision Guide

Vaccines can prevent diseases that are dangerous and deadly.  Vaccines greatly reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to a disease.  However, the topic of vaccine safety has become a concerning factor recently for many people. 

 

We understand your fears

Vaccination is an emotional issue. “Vaccination is as important for adults as it is for children, and yet many adults are not optimally vaccinated,” says William Schaffner, MD, president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.   We in Dr. Mills office believe that vaccines are safe and do not pose a danger to your health. 

 

Safety & Concerns

Vaccines are the best protection the world has against serious, contagious, preventable, and sometimes deadly diseases. Vaccines are constantly monitored by the FDA for safety and effectiveness. 

 

Autism and vaccines

Many people wonder if there is a link between autism and vaccines.  This fear was caused by a study involving eight children, which has since been retracted by the journal that published it; this link has further been discredited by fourteen subsequent studies including millions of children worldwide.  Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, supports vaccination.

 

What Vaccines do I need?

The following information is a brief overview of vaccines and is not in any particular order:

 

  1. The flu shot: Unless you are allergic to the flu shot, Dr. Mills office advocates getting the flu shot every year.  The flu shot is the best protection against the flu. Pregnant women, small children, elderly people with poor health, and people with chronic diseases such as asthma, and heart disease are at high risk for serious infection and death from the flu.  The flu shot can significantly reduce risk.  You cannot get the flu from the flu shot.

 

2.  Pneumonia Vaccination:  If you are over 65 or have breathing or other serious chronic medical issues you may need two pneumonia shots- the pneumovax and the Prevnar 13- one year apart.

 

 3.  Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) and Td (tetanus diphtheria).  If you did not receive this vaccine as a child, you should start a 3 dose series given over 7-12 months.  Vaccination against pertussis is especially important for those in direct contact with infants.  After the series, a Td (tetanus shot) booster is recommended every 10 years.

 

4.  MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella): Adolescents and adults born after 1957 who have not had measles or do not have a record of vaccination should get 2 doses of MMR, separated by at least 28 days. Two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine are nearly 100% effective at preventing measles. Adults who work in a medical facility are usually required to provide a record of vaccination or a blood test to ensure immunity to measles.  If a woman is planning or may become pregnant they should not have the MMR within 4 weeks of pregnancy. 


5,  Herpes Zoster (AKA Shingles)

The vaccine Shingrix is recommended for over age 50. All patients must check their insurance plan as the out of pocket cost for this vaccine is $250. If you have the shingles rash you can infect others with chicken pox. 


6.  HPV (Human Papilloma virus)  Vaccine is Gardasil  for ages 11 to 26.   HPV is spread by sexual contact.  Women who have been vaccinated should continue to have cervical screening examinations even though they have had the HPV vaccine.

 

7.  Hepatitis A is a 2-dose vaccine recommended for adults over age 19 that do not have a record of prior vaccination and are at risk. Hepatitis A is spread through contaminated food, water and some types of sexual activity. 

 

8.  Hepatitis B is a 3 dose vaccine for over age 19 that does not have a record of vaccination or at risk.  Hepatitis B is spread from one person to another from blood, semen, or other body fluids of an infected person.  Sexual contact and sharing needles with an infected person is the most common mode of transmission. It is impossible to contract the virus from the vaccine itself.

 

9.  Meningococcal (Meningitis)
  1. Meningococcal Conjugate (groups A, C, Y and W-135) (Menactra)

    Meningococcal A, C, Y, W is for children 9 to 22 months- two doses, 3 months apart. 

    Age 2-55 get a single dose.  Booster can be given age 15-55 years if 4 years since prior dose.

2.  Serogroup B meningococcal   

     Trumemba for age 10-25 years old - may receive serogroup B; adults check with Dr. Mills.  Recommended for those living in college dormitories or

     military barracks. 

 

10.  Chickenpox (Varicella)

      Recommended for adults over 19 years without a record of vaccination.  2-dose series given 4-8 weeks apart. 

 

11.  Mantou or PPD Test

      Not a vaccine- a test is for adults who have had prolonged exposure to someone with TB disease, or who lives or works in high-risk settings such

      as health-care employees.  Tests for  exposure to TB only; a chest X-ray is needed to diagnose tuberculosis.

 

Resources to check out!

  1. Vaccines.gov, CDC.gov
  2. www.WHO.int/en/
  3. Autismspeaks.org
  4. http://www.webmd.com/vaccines/what-you-should-know-11/12-reasons?page=3

 

Update 4/26/19