When we think about vaccines, we think about children. Measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox. We (hopefully) get our kids vaccinated, to protect them from these diseases. But are vaccines only for children?
Absolutely not! Vaccines protect people of all ages from disease. But adults often neglect to immunize themselves, putting themselves at risk of serious illness. But this doesn’t only affect ourselves — it affects our communities, too.
The Front Lines Against Disease
The most vulnerable people are those whose health is already compromised. For that reason, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are on the front lines of fighting disease. By keeping disease out of our hospitals, we keep that at-risk population safe.
A critical component of this is ensuring hospital staff are fully and properly vaccinated. Hospitals screen new hires to make sure they are immune to specific types of diseases. If they need vaccines, they’ll be provided to protect themselves and their patients. Flu shots are administered each fall. These vaccines, in conjunction with other precautions, such as proper handwashing and seasonal visitor restrictions, go a long way toward keeping patients healthy.
Additionally, an infection control nurse will work with patients to receive vaccinations. This includes the aforementioned immunizations, but also vaccines against diseases like pneumonia and the shingles. The infection control nurse meets with patients to educate them on these diseases and their vaccinations.
Immunizations are indispensable in protecting the health of our communities. While hospitals take care to vaccinate employees, please don’t wait to immunize yourself! Get your vaccines and guard yourself — and your community — against serious disease.
Liz Morris, RN, MSN is the Employee Health/Infection Control Nurse at Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital in New Albany, IN. She received a bachelor’s degree from Spalding College and a master’s degree from the University of Louisville. Liz is a member of APIC (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology).