For World Immunization Week, Wayne State University’s Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases Teena Chopra, M.D., who is corporate medical director of Infection Prevention, Epidemiology and Antibiotic Stewardship for Wayne State and the Detroit Medical Center, shared information everyone should know about vaccinations.
“The World Health Organization has declared vaccine hesitancy as one of the most serious threats to our community. Vaccination is critical for our community. Many diseases have been eradicated, like smallpox, because we made sure that everyone is vaccinated against these diseases.
“As an infectious disease expert and antibiotic steward, I highly recommend parents to vaccinate their children, and also adults who are not vaccinated should get vaccinated,” Dr. Chopra said.
Five things to know about immunizations:
- Vaccines are safe and the best option for prevention
Immunizations introduce weakened germs into our bodies, stimulating an antibody response. These antibodies become memory inside our body, which then fight real, uncontrolled germs down the line.
Many diseases and their complications are prevented because of vaccination, including polio, measles, rubella, diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus. Vaccination is the most critical foundation of prevention by introducing the weakened form of germs, a much better option than exposing children to the disease itself.
- The vaccine schedule should be followed
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a recommended schedule for vaccinations, and it should be followed. Although children are born with some immunity through antibodies from their mother, the effectiveness of these antibodies ween off and they need extra help and protection Vaccines need to be given at a specific time to avoid the antibodies interfering and to minimize the risk of disease exposure.
- Two doses of the MMR vaccine provides lifelong immunity
The measles vaccine is given in two doses. The first dose, as recommended by the CDC, is at 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose is given between 4 and 6 years of age. Those two doses give us lifelong immunity, and with documentation, do not need to be repeated.
- Vaccines do not lead to autism
It is a myth that vaccines cause autism. Vaccines are extremely safe.
A fraudulent study published in The Lancet journal in 1998, by a doctor named Andrew Wakefield who claimed proof of vaccines causing autism. The study was discredited and withdrawn from The Lancet in 2010. Vaccines are safe.
- Adults need vaccines, too
Adults should get a yearly influenza vaccine. The Hepatitis A vaccine, the shingles vaccine for age 50 and over and the pneumococcal vaccine at or over 65 years of age are also highly recommended.
For more information about immunizations, visit the School of Medicine Instagram @waynemedicine to view a Q&A story with Dr. Chopra, and listen to her interview on WDET-FM (101.9 in Detroit) about the measles outbreak in southeast Michigan.