Let’s Take the Sting Out of Vaccines
August is National Immunization Awareness Month, an annual observance to highlight the importance of routine vaccinations for all age groups – and the benefits of regular immunizations cannot be over emphasized.
Vaccines work by stimulating the body’s immune system to safely provide protection against the viruses or bacteria that cause infection, work to reduce the severity of an illness, and reduce the risk of hospitalization. As a result of advances in medical science, some diseases have been eliminated primarily due to vaccines and others well contained.
The most talked about vaccine in recent years is the COVID-19 inoculation. While people in racial and ethnic minority groups have been shown to be disproportionately affected by the virus, many still struggle not only with access to the vaccine, but also with what has been termed “vaccine hesitancy.” This medical distrust has been linked to past unethical procedures and research performed within Black communities in this country.
So, how do we combat the doubts and suspicions that cause vaccine hesitancy?
One way is by providing easy access to and education about these life-saving immunizations. In an effort to combat vaccine hesitancy and lack of access due to transportation, Whittier Street Health Center – for the past two plus years – has offered mobile vaccination clinics in high-risk communities, in addition to walk-in vaccination services at our 1290 Tremont Street, Roxbury address.
“Vaccines to prevent infectious diseases are administered to millions of babies, children, adolescents, and adults, making it critical for them to be safe and effective,” said Dr. Adetokunbo Olotu member of the Pediatric Team at Whittier Street Health Center, noting that vaccines undergo rigorous FDA evaluation to ensure their safety and effectiveness.
Whittier offers a large number of vaccines, including those to prevent serious diseases like the flu, measles, and pneumonia.
“Immunizations can also help stop the spread of illness,” said Director of Nursing, Melissa Leaston, RN at Whittier Street Health Center. “This is of particular importance in multigenerational households where young children and/or elders live.”
No question – vaccines have been proven to prevent disease and have saved millions of lives. The lives of infants, children, teens, adults, and elders. They are one of the many ways that we can all protect and promote wellness in our communities.
For more information about the immunization programs at Whittier Street Health Center, please call 617-858-2444, the Pediatric Team at 617-858-2436, or the Adult Team at 617-427-1000.