Last month, 102 people in 14 states reported having measles. These cases are part of an ongoing outbreak that started in California in December of last year. Like other highly infectious diseases with serious outcomes, measles can be prevented with a simple solution: vaccination. New evidence on the impact and safety of vaccines has shifted the debate about vaccines toward supporting their value for children and adults. So when confronted with the question should I get vaccinated, the answer is YES! It is important that everyone be vaccinated, with only very rare exceptions.
Why Vaccinations Help
The fact is that vaccines are safe, well tested, and they work. Vaccines jumpstart your immune system by helping your body build immunity to diseases and germs you may come in contact with later in life. Vaccines introduce killed or weakened germs into your body, which trigger your immune system to produce substances that combat them. If you encounter the germ again, your body remembers and can more quickly fight against it successfully. When many people are vaccinated, germs do not have a place to live and spread to other people. This controls outbreaks and creates a healthier environment for all.
Why Not Getting Vaccinated Hurts
Young infants and those with some serious medical conditions cannot be vaccinated. When others choose not to be vaccinated, they put these very vulnerable people at risk. Vaccines are one of the safest and most effective preventive measures against infectious disease. When you are not vaccinated, you put yourself and others at serious risk when disease outbreaks occur, like the current measles outbreak.
Where To Get Vaccinated
Vaccines are available in many locations. Your primary care clinic, pharmacy, and local health department are easy places to get the vaccines you need. If you are not sure where to go for a vaccine in your area, check out the Vaccination Locator at www.immunize-utah.org.
When there is an outbreak of a serious vaccine preventable infection, it is a great time to make sure you and your family are up-to-date on all your recommended vaccines. Pull out your vaccine records and compare them with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommend vaccination schedules. Now is the time to get your vaccines and get protected!