August Is Immunization Awareness Month

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The truth is, until 1999, most vaccines contained thimerosal, a mercury-derived preservative which many thought caused autism, but no substantive connection was ever made. Some flu shots still contain the preservative, but vaccine manufacturers removed thimerosal from all other vaccines. The hepatitis B vaccine was once linked to SIDS, but since the vaccine was first recommended in 1991, SIDS rates have actually gone down. Don't forget to stay up-to-date on adult vaccinations. Immunity can fade over the years, and newer, more effective vaccines continuously become available. A tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis booster is recommended every 10 years for all adults, and two doses of varicella vaccine are recommended for adults who haven't been exposed to chicken pox. Seasonal vaccines are important - pneumonia and influenza are recommended for everyone, especially the immune compromised. Pediatricians recommend the HPV vaccine beginning at age 11 or 12 for their female patients to protect against cervical cancer. Shots aren't fun for anyone, but they're much less painful than suffering from the diseases from which they protect you and your family.