“I don’t need the flu vaccine – even if I get sick, I’ll take a few days off and pick up medicine.” Don’t let this dangerous misconception discourage you from stopping preventable disease! August is National Immunization Awareness Month, a healthcare holiday that promotes the importance of vaccines.
We celebrate National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) because free and cheap vaccines are where your health insurance shines.
NIAM encourages individuals of all ages to schedule vaccinations with their healthcare professionals. Taking action now can have a lasting impact on the health of you and your loved ones in the future.
Does Your Health Insurance Cover Vaccines?
In most circumstances, your health insurance will not charge you a copayment or coinsurance to receive basic vaccines. Under the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), preventive care falls under the essential health benefits. This means it’s one of 10 medical services that major health insurance companies and Medicare are required to cover. Vaccines are a great example of preventive services.
For individuals with Medicare, vaccines will also be fully or partly covered depending on your plan.
It’s important to double check with your health insurer to fully understand the financial costs of getting your vaccines. Recommended doses and eligible populations will depend on your health plan. For instance, a 26-year-old may still have to pay for a vaccine that’s only suggested for 60-year-olds. But in general, with health plans covering for most vaccine services, you’ll won’t have to deal with out-of-pocket expenses.
Should You Get Vaccinations?
Vaccinations protect you from catching diseases and help educate your community about its health. By taking proactive measures, you’ll be able to stay healthier and reduce the severity and duration of certain symptoms.
In short, everyone should take preventive measures by asking their doctor about vaccinations. Getting vaccinated not only helps you but also benefits those around you – this concept is known as community immunity or the herd effect. If enough people are vaccinated, it’s more difficult for diseases to spread and infect individuals. This reduces the overall likelihood of outbreaks and potential deaths in a given population.
If your healthcare provider recommends vaccinations, you should strongly consider his or her advice for the well-being of you and your community.
Vaccines for Adults
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thousands of adults needlessly suffer from diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. Decreased rates for adult vaccinations have made communities more vulnerable to illnesses in recent years. To prepare for the upcoming fall and winter months, now is the time to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.
|Disease||Frequency of Dosages|
|Seasonal Influenza (Flu)||1 dose per year|
|Td (Tetanus-Diphtheria)||1 dose every 10 years|
||1 or 2 doses per lifetime|
|Varicella||2 doses per lifetime|
|HPV||3 doses per lifetime|
Each year, the CDC publishes a recommended schedule that can help you keep track of when to receive vaccinations.
Some vaccines require more than one dosage. Receiving the sequences of shots on time is critical for their effectiveness. Even if you think you’re not at high risk for certain illnesses, your doctor can help recommend vaccines to better your health.
Vaccines for Babies and Young Children
For children born between 1994 and 2016, immunizations will prevent an estimated 381 million illnesses. For babies with developing immune systems, vaccinations strengthen their abilities to fight off potential diseases.
With the school year quickly approaching, August is the perfect time for parents to make sure their children are not at risk for contracting preventable disease. You can collect up-to-date vaccine records from your child’s pediatrician.
Where Can You Get Vaccinated?
Vaccines are a common medical procedure and it’s important to all healthcare providers that you get immunized. For your convenience, there are different clinical settings that offer vaccines for adults.
If you’re scheduled to see your doctor, you can likely get vaccinated at his or her office. If they don’t have a vaccine on hand, they can refer you to other providers that carry vaccines.
You can visit a local pharmacy for most recommended adult vaccines – many advertise and offer flu vaccines during the fall and winter months. Urgent care centers also offer vaccinations for contagious diseases. Before you head into a pharmacy or urgent care clinic, double check to see if they accept your health insurance plan.
Vaccine services may also be available at your community health clinic, schools, and religious centers at little to no cost. You can check for local immunization events and other resources by asking your healthcare provider.
History of National Immunization Awareness Month
National Immunization Awareness Month began in 2001 with efforts to encourage vaccinations for children and young adults. After many stories of individuals battling deadly but preventable diseases, messages to prompt individuals to get vaccinated quickly spread.
Many Americans, especially adults, are unaware of the fact that they need vaccines. From busy schedules to misconstrued internet myths, there’s no shortage of reasons to avoid the flu shot. However, missing your vaccines not only increases your risk for diseases, but also puts others in danger. The immunization campaign in August serves to debunk any myths and better inform individuals about vaccines.
How You Can Help Raise Awareness
NIAM presents the opportunity for communities and healthcare professionals to learn more about vaccinations, and take action to prevent diseases. Instead of dealing with the possibility of illness, talk with your doctor to reduce your risks and follow through with your vaccination schedules.Vaccines are important for everyone - children and adults! #NIAM18 Click To Tweet
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