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You may have completed your vaccinations when you were a child, but do you know that vaccines are not only for kids but for adults, too? Vaccines are among the most cost-effective health interventions available. They help ensure optimum health.
“Vaccines provide heightened protection against diseases, disabilities and even death. They prepare the body to fight diseases without exposing the person to the symptoms. Many believe immunizations are for children only. But you are never too old to get vaccinated. Newer vaccines are being developed and booster shots may be necessary to maintain the efficacy of certain vaccines. Vaccination is important especially if you have a chronic disease, are pregnant, sexually active, or if your work requires you to travel to places where you can be exposed to different diseases,” says MediCard president and CEO Dr. Nicky Montoya.
MediCard, a leading HMO provider in the country, debunks some myths on vaccinations:
Myth: Vaccines are for children only.
Fact: Vaccines don’t offer lifetime immunity to diseases; they stimulate antibody production. Almost all vaccines wear off after 5-10 years. Getting vaccinated as an adult is just as important as getting it when you are young because you might be at risk for a new or different disease. The vaccinations you need are determined by factors such as age, lifestyle, health conditions, travel, and previous immunizations. To find out what vaccines you need, consult your doctor.
Myth: Vaccines are ineffective and harmful.
Fact: Vaccines are effective and safe. They go through comprehensive testing before they are approved for general use. They are also continuously monitored for safety and effectiveness. For those who worry that vaccines will cause serious side effects, Dr. Montoya says such cases are very rare. Normal reactions to vaccination include redness, pain, and swelling in the body part where the shot was given.
Myth: Vaccines weaken the immune system.
Fact: Vaccines actually strengthen the immune system and help fight diseases. Vaccines strengthen the immune system by safely introducing an antigen, a substance that triggers the production of antibodies needed to neutralize viruses and bacteria. Vaccines also stimulate defense mechanisms that provide protection against specific diseases. Fears that vaccines can overload the immune system are unfounded because a healthy person’s immune system can recognize and handle thousands of organisms at once.
Myth: Vaccinations are not needed if you live a healthy lifestyle.
Fact: Good hygiene, a balanced diet and an active lifestyle can help prevent the spread of diseases, but you are still exposed to germs and viruses. This is why getting vaccinated is encouraged, even if you live a healthy lifestyle, as it provides a significant level of protection from diseases.
Learn more about vaccinations. MediCard has several free-standing clinics located in key cities nationwide that offer consultations, tests and vaccinations. Visit a MediCard clinic near you or check out their website at www.medicardphils.com for more information.