“This month, as residents prepare for school, college and colder months ahead, we remind them of their shared responsibility to protect themselves, their families and the community from serious life threatening diseases,” said Suffolk County . “While the costs of disease are great, the benefits of immunization are immeasurable.”
Suffolk County has experienced a in the number of cases of () in recent months. Everyone who comes in contact with young infants, who are particularly vulnerable to pertussis, should receive immunization against the disease, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services said.
The SCDHS has called immunization "one of the most significant public health achievements of the 20th century," and added that immunization has eradicated smallpox and poliovirus in the U.S. and has significantly reduced the number of cases of measles,diphtheria, rubella, pertussis and other diseases.
County health officials further added that te10s of thousands of people in the U.S. still succumb to these vaccine-preventable diseases.
“The goal of public-health officials is to immunize people until all vaccine-preventable diseases are eradicated,” said Suffolk Health Commissioner James Tomarken, M.D. “Immunizations are thoroughly tested and monitored carefully before being approved for public use.”
Dr. Tomarken outlined the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) immunization recommendations as follows:
- Young children: Children from infancy to age six should receive a series of shots to protect against measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chickenpox, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis,pneumonia and hepatitis B.
- Preteens: Booster shots for tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis andmeningitis are recommended for youngsters who are age 11 or entering sixth grade in September. Pertussis and meningitis can be spread very easily from person to person. The CDC has further recommended that preteen girls and boys should receive the HPV vaccine to protect against human papilloma virus, the most common cause of cervical cancer, genital wartsand/or anal cancer in both men and women.
- Adults: All adults need to update their tetanus shot every 10 years. A one-time pneumonia shot is recommended for people 65 and older. Additional vaccination may be needed one time before 65 years of age for those who have diabetes, asthma,heart failure, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and those who smoke. People 60 and older should receive a shot to protect against shingles.
- All ages: All individuals older than six months old should receive a seasonal flu shot, which this year protects against three strains of influenza including the H1N1 influenza virus.
Local residents without health insurance or health insurance that doesn’t pay for immunizations, are advised to ask their health-care providers about the Vaccines for Children program. Funded by the CDC and New York State Department of Health, the program offers vaccines at low or no cost to eligible children.