The other vaccines your body needs
While COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters have been the prominent news in immunization, they’re not the only shots you need.
Various immunizations throughout your lifetime can help your body fight disease and protect communities. As you schedule annual checkups with your family doctor, ask whether you’re up-to-date on routine vaccinations.
Why is adult vaccination a big deal? On an individual level, some shots — such as tetanus and diphtheria (Td) — are boosters for vaccines you received as a child. You may think you’re still protected, but immunity can wane with time.
On a community level, vaccination protects people around you who may not be able to receive immunizations. This concept of “herd immunity” means that immunocompromised people — those with cancer or other conditions that tax their immune systems — are safer when people near them can’t spread disease.
Shots in more spots
U-M’s health plans cover immunizations under both its pharmacy and medical plans, which means you can receive your shot at your doctor’s office, local clinic or pharmacy. There is no copay for the member or dependent for most vaccines.
The following vaccines are covered:
- COVID-19 initial and boosters
- Influenza. On-site clinics will begin early this fall; watch this space for dates and locations.
- Hepatitis A and B
- HPV (no co-pay for people ages 9-26)
- Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
- Shingles (no copay for people age 50 and older)
- Tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough
- Varicella (chicken pox)
Keep in mind that some of these immunizations require more than one dose to be most effective.
All in for vaccination
Should you receive all these vaccines? Some are dependent on your individual health, while others are recommended at certain ages. Here’s a good conversation starter for your next visit with your family physician.
Other reasons to vaccinate
Aside from helping protect yourself and others, vaccination:
- Keeps you healthy to do the things you love.
- Keeps you healthy abroad. Certain vaccines are recommended before travel to specific countries. Others may require proof of vaccination before you’re allowed to cross their borders.
- Decreases unexpected expenses. Medical bills and time off work can put a sizeable dent in your household budget.
COVID-19 continues to mutate into different variants. For best protection, get vaccinated and boosted if your health allows; monitor conditions where you are and where you’re going; keep protective measures such as masks and over-the-counter tests handy; and refresh Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines often.
This story first appeared in UHR News. Click here to subscribe!