Vaccines and Immunizations

Vaccination uses vaccines to stimulate the body’s immune system to protect them against infection or disease. While immunization is the process where a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease by introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease. The term inoculation, meanwhile, is often used interchangeably with vaccination or immunization.

Overview

Children are exposed to thousands of germs every day in their environment. Through food, air, water and objects touched and put in their mouths. On-time vaccination throughout childhood is critical as it helps provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Antigens are a molecule that stimulates an immune response by activating leukocytes (white blood cells) that fight disease. Thirty years ago, vaccines used over 3,000 antigens to protect against 8 diseases by age two. These days, vaccines use 305 antigens to protect against 14 diseases by age two. Today, thanks to scientific advances, vaccines can protect children from more diseases using fewer antigens. Additionally, it is important to note that vaccines contain only a tiny fraction of the antigens that babies meet in their environment every single day.

Vaccines are tested to ensure that they are safe and effective for children to receive at the doctor’s recommended ages. Healthy babies are born with immune systems that can fight most germs, but no immune system on the planet can naturally fight all the deadly diseases in our environment. And that’s why vaccines are so important for children and adults.

Most vaccine-preventable diseases are commonly spread from person to person. If one individual gets an infectious disease and lives in a community, they can easily spread it to those who are not immune. But a vaccinated person can’t get that disease and can’t spread it to others. The more individuals in a community who are vaccinated, the fewer opportunities a disease has to spread.

Vaccines & Immunizations Services

Hillcroft Physicians doctors believe a healthy child that is up to date on vaccinations has a better chance of becoming a healthy adult. That is why we not only urge our patients to follow the recommended standard age-appropriate vaccination schedule, but we make sure the community is protected as well. Our doctors work with the Department of Health and Human Services Well Child Program and are regularly recognized for providing outstanding infant immunization coverage levels for children in our community.

Hillcroft Physicians also is a registered COVID Vaccine administration site for Harris County. We provide Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations and COVID-19 booster shots for patients 18 years and up.

Health Tips & Info

How can I know if my child is up to date on their vaccinations and immunizations?
Good record-keeping of a child’s vaccination schedule begins with good record-taking. Track your child’s vaccination records as soon as they get their first immunization when born. Keep a vaccination tracking card from your child’s doctor or your state health department. Request your doctor enter the vaccines your child has received in your state’s immunization information system (IIS). An IIS is a statewide immunization registry doctors and public health clinics use to save and update vaccination records.

Keep a child’s immunizations record in a safe place where it can be can easily be located, and be sure and bring it to each of your child’s doctor visits. Request the doctor or nurse to write down the vaccine given, date, and dosage on your child’s vaccination record, along with the clinic name and address.

The following vaccinations and schedules are recommended. Your doctor will talk to you about the proper vaccinations and plan for your child.

Recommended vaccinations:

  • Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine (DTaP)
  • Hepatitis A vaccine (HepA)
  • Hepatitis B vaccine (HepB)
  • Hib vaccine
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
  • Influenza vaccine
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR)
  • Meningococcal vaccines
  • Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV)
  • Polio vaccine (IPV)
  • Rotavirus vaccine
What kinds of regular vaccinations and immunizations should adults get?
Immunizations are not just for children; they are also crucial for adults. Childhood vaccine protection can wear off over time. Vaccine-preventable disease risks can also increase due to your age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions.

All adults need regular immunizations to help them from acquiring and transmitting severe diseases that could result in disease, missed work, additional medical bills, and not being able to care for the family.

All adults need a seasonal flu (influenza) vaccine every year. The Influenza vaccine is particularly critical for people with severe health conditions, pregnant women, and older adults.

Additionally, adults should get the Tdap vaccine once if they do not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough). Then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster is shot every 10 years. In addition, women should get the Tdap vaccine each time they are pregnant, preferably at 27 through 36 weeks.

Do vaccines give better immunity than natural infections?
Vaccines do not cause disease but rather interact with the body’s natural immune system to produce an immune response similar to a natural infection without the risk of complications.

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