Vaccinations available at the 9Health Fair |

Vaccinations available at the 9Health Fair

special to the daily
Joanne Stolen

At the 9 Health Fair Saturday at Summit High School from 7 a.m. to noon, there will be the following vaccinations available: H1N1, seasonal flu shots, Zostavax, Hep A, B , TdAp, polio, meningococcal, MMR, and Varicella.

H1N1 and seasonal flu shots are available in two varieties, the injection of “killed” virus while the nasal mist (H1N1) is a live, weakened virus. H1N1 is still affecting people worldwide. It is hard to predict whether it will re-emerge in another cycle, but it is certainly possible. The World Health Organization states that even though the spread of the H1N1 virus had slowed in the United States and Western Europe, the virus has started to spread in parts of West Africa and winter is still to come in the Southern Hemisphere. Seasonal Flu has been lower than usual but can occur as late as May.

Zostavax vaccine is recommended for adults 60 and older to prevent shingles. Vaccination is available if under 60 with a doctor’s note. If you have ever had chicken pox you can get shingles. Zostavax contains a weakened chickenpox -zoster virus. The virus that causes chicken pox is a herpes virus. This family of virus stays with us forever. They hide in your nerve cells and can reemerge in later years as the painful blisters of shingles that can keep reoccurring.

Hepatitis A vaccine. Hepatitis A vaccine is made from noninfectious, killed virus. The virus is grown in cell culture. Hepatitis A requires two doses of vaccine given 6-12 months apart. The hepatitis A virus (HAV) can cause long-term damage to the liver. It is usually spread by close personal contact and sometimes by eating food or drinking water containing HAV. It is recommended for all children 12 through 23 months of age, persons 1 year of age and older traveling to or working in countries with high or intermediate prevalence of hepatitis A, such as Central or South America, Mexico, Asia (except Japan), Africa, and Eastern Europe. It is additionally recommended for adolescents and adults who live in states or communities with increased incidence. The incidence of Hepatitis A infection in Colorado is 10% above the national average.

Hepatitis B vaccine is manufactured using recombinant technology from part of the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B is a given in a three dose series. HBV can cause: jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), pain in muscles, joints, and stomach and chronic (long-term) infection, liver damage (cirrhosis), and liver cancer. The virus spreads through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and other body fluids. You can get it from receiving a tattoo, or piercing with contaminated instruments, or by shared needles. HBV can be passed to an infant during childbirth if the mother is infected.

Tdap is a combined Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis Vaccine. It is the first vaccine for adolescents and adults and protects against all three diseases. A single dose of Tdap for adults 19-64 years of age is recommended. Adult can spread the disease to susceptible children and all adults with close contact to infants should receive the vaccine. Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat. It can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and even death. Tetanus (Lockjaw) causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body, the person cannot open his mouth or swallow, and it causes death in up to 2 out of 10 cases. Pertussis (Whooping Cough) causes violent coughing so that it is hard to eat, drink, or breathe. It can last for weeks and lead to pneumonia, seizures (jerking and staring spells), brain damage, and death.

MMR is the Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. It is a combination vaccine. It is given in 2 doses, 1 at 12-15 months of age and the second at 4-6 years old. MMR is also recommended for adults under 50 who have not been previously vaccinated or had the actual diseases. Pregnant women should not receive an MMR vaccine and women should also avoid becoming pregnant for at least 4 weeks after receiving the vaccine. There are a serious number of cases in the UK, in unvaccinated children. It is a problem throughout the developing world, especially in India and the east coast of Africa. Airborne droplets through coughing, sneezing, spread the measles, mumps, and rubella viruses. Measles virus causes rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever. It can lead to ear infection, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death. Mumps virus causes fever, headache, and swollen glands and can cause deafness, meningitis, painful swelling of the testicles (sterility), or ovaries. Rubella virus causes rash, mild fever, and arthritis (mostly in women). In pregnancy, rubella can cause miscarriage or serious birth defects.

Varicella vaccine contains a weakened form of the virus. It requires a shot and a booster. Chickenpox is often a mild disease, but in some cases, can cause severe skin infections, pneumonia, brain damage and death. In adults, the disease is usually more serious. It is dangerous for pregnant women and their fetuses.

Polio Vaccine. The IPV vaccine contains an inactivated poliovirus. Poliovirus is found in feces. It is spread through unwashed hands, and contaminated food or water. It paralyzed and killed thousands of people in the mid 1900’s. The disease remains common in many parts of the world and it would only take one case of polio from another country to bring the disease back if we were not immunized. Most adults do not need polio vaccine because they were already vaccinated as children, but people traveling to areas of the world where polio is common should consider getting vaccinated.

Meningococcal vaccine used against Meningococcus, a bacterium that causes meningitis, and septicemia. A dose of MCV4 is recommended for children and adolescents 11 through 18 years of age and is now a requirement for many colleges/universities. Meningococcal vaccine is also recommended for U.S. military recruits and anyone traveling to, or living in, a part of the world where meningococcal disease is common, such as parts of Africa. Meningitis is caused by excess fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. About 1,000-2,600 people get meningococcal disease each year in the U.S and 10-15% of these people die, while survivors may suffer serious side effects.

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