COVID-19 made us all aware of the huge impact a virus can have on everyone’s lives. There are many other viruses and bacteria that still exist and can be passed on to those who are not protected by vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you be vaccinated throughout your life to protect yourself from infections. Like eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting regular check-ups, vaccines play a vital role in keeping you healthy. Vaccines are one of the most convenient and safest preventive care measures available.
Vaccine-preventable infections can be deadly. Every year in the US, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 50,000 adults died from vaccine-preventable diseases. More than 500,000 people died in the US from COVID-19.
Vaccines are designed to lessen or prevent severe illness, and in some cases prevent it completely. The US has a robust approval process to ensure that all licensed vaccines are safe. Potential side effects associated with vaccines are uncommon and much less severe than the diseases they prevent.
Infants and older adults are at increased risk for serious infections and complications, but vaccine-preventable diseases can strike anyone. If you are young and healthy, getting vaccinated can help you stay that way.
Diseases not only have a direct impact on individuals and their families, but also carry a high price tag for society as a whole, exceeding $10 billion per year. An average flu illness can last up to 15 days, typically with five or six missed work or school days. Adults who get hepatitis A lose an average of one month of work.
When you get sick, you can put others at risk too. And not just your immediate family and friends – neighbors, colleagues and anyone you come into contact with. When you get vaccinated, you are protecting not only yourself and your immediate family, but also those in your community who may not be able to be vaccinated. Plus, getting sick from a vaccine preventable illness can cause missed work and not being available to others who depend upon you – such as children or older parents.
Vaccines to protect against COVID-19 are authorized for emergency use and many additional types of vaccines are currently being studied. Research trials are also focused on vaccines for Respiratory Synctial Virus (RSV), a virus that can be dangerous for very young children and older adults. Research trials are underway.