When, in all of history, has there been so much confusion or discussion about vaccines? At Beach Cities Medicine in Redondo Beach, California, David Wallis, MD takes the time to thoughtfully evaluate your health conditions and individual context in order to provide guidance based on his training and expertise in the risks, benefits, and timing of vaccination - not only for covid, but for immunizations across the spectrum of life. Schedule a visit online or call the office today.
Vaccination is a way to help bolster a person’s immune system against a threat to their health - or those around them. Through vaccinations, we have eliminated diseases such as smallpox and (almost) polio; we have reduced a myriad of childhood illnesses and decreased childhood mortality, we have reduced certain sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and their long-reaching consequences, and we have prevented countless deaths in the elderly from pneumonia, influenza, and covid.
Vaccines also have secondary benefits, beyond that of the individual being vaccinated. “Herd immunity” and reduction of an illness burden in a household or a community can protect even those who are not vaccinated or whose immune systems do not respond adequately to a particular vaccine. In cases like smallpox, vaccines widely adopted can lead to herd immunity so effective that the vaccine is no longer needed since the threat has been eliminated completely.
What vaccines are right for you? It may differ - what vaccines have you had in the past, and when were they done? What medical problems do you have (asthma, etc)? What does your lifestyle put you at increased risk for (sexual partners, occupational exposures)? Is there international travel in your future? If so, you should consider details of your trip - not only your location but also your activities and timing thereof. What about your family - is your spouse fighting cancer or on medications that would impact their ability to fight off something that you yourself might otherwise not worry about?
This being said, vaccines can have their downsides as well. There are the well known side effects like soreness from a tetanus shot or the headaches and fevers from a shingles vaccine, but there are also far more rare and serious side effects from vaccines as well. Helping you to analyze the facts behind various vaccines and balance the risks and benefits of each in your individual context is something that Dr. Wallis is always happy to do. And yes, with most vaccines, we can also administer many vaccines when indicated right here at Beach Cities Medicine.