Vaccination and Immunization Services Questions and Answers
Get up-to-date vaccinations and immunization for you and for your family at Dr. Shima Hadidchi MD Family practice. Call us for more information or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 12740 Hesperia Rd. Victorville, CA 92395.
What is the difference between vaccination and immunization?
Vaccination and immunization are terms often used interchangeably, however, the terms do have distinct meanings. Immunization and vaccination are related according to the WHO (World Health Organization), however, one word describes an act, while the other describes a process. When a vaccine is introduced to the body to provide protection from a specific disease, and to stimulate the body’s immune system, this act is called a vaccination. The process in which a person becomes protected (Immune), or resistant to a specific infectious disease through vaccination, is called immunization. In other words, a person who receives a vaccination injection, would then be considered immunized. Immunity, or to become immune to a disease, means you can be exposed to the disease without becoming infected. A person can become immune to a disease when the body is exposed to a pathogen (the disease-causing organism), and the body begins to develop antibodies to fight it off. Today, immunization almost always infers to immunity through vaccination, rather than through becoming naturally infected.
What makes vaccines so important in our daily lives?
Diseases that in the past, have caused the deaths of millions of people, like influenza and polio for example, can now be prevented with vaccinations. When a person receives a vaccine, the body recognizes the injected substance (vaccine) as harmful, and will start to make antibodies that target that specific invader and protect the body from the disease it causes. The body develops what is termed as an “acquired (or adaptive) immune response,” which, in addition to neutralizing the specific pathogen, it also develops memory cells, which will re-launch an attack on the pathogen should it ever return, reducing the risk of illness if a person becomes re-infected. Herd immunity is achieved when enough people in the community are vaccinated against a viral pathogen, protecting everyone in the community. Even those who have not received a vaccination are also protected when herd immunity is achieved. Thanks to herd immunity, diseases that once claimed millions of lives, like polio, mumps and measles, have been virtually eliminated. Diseases become unable to spread, and eventually die out posing little, to no risk to the public.
How can I know if my vaccinations and immunizations are up to date?
From the time of birth until later in life, vaccinations are needed to immunize people against diseases that can harm or kill them. The timing of the vaccinations is based on the risk of becoming infected at that stage of life. It’s very important to follow the CDC’s recommended vaccine schedule for children to protect them against diseases they are most vulnerable to at their age. The CDC’s vaccine schedule has been proven safe and very effective at protecting children from diseases that still remain in many communities, and not getting a child vaccinated places them at serious risk of infection. Diseases like pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, and meningococcal meningitis, that can cause severe illness and death, have a significantly greater chance of infecting an unvaccinated child. The CDC also has a recommended vaccine list for adults, such as the Shingrix vaccine, which prevents shingles. You may have been vaccinated against a specific disease in childhood, but your level of immunization today determines how protected you are. Vaccination records are generally kept by your doctor for a limited number of years, so if you are unsure if you are up-to-date on your vaccines, first check with your doctor, then your state’s health department.
What vaccination and Immunization do Dr. Shima Hadidchi MD Offer?
Dr. Shima Hadidchi MD Family Practice provides a wide range of vaccination services for both children and adults. We also offer the COVID-19 vaccine. To ensure you and your family are protected, please call our office or visit our website to schedule an appointment, or for directions to our office in Victorville, California. We serve patients from Victorville CA, Apple Valley CA, Adelanto CA, Hesperia CA, Crestline CA, Highland CA, and Barstow CA.