Health & Safety

August 15, 2014

Avoid sickness: Immunizations offer disease protection

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Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

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NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The month of August is designated as National Immunization Awareness Month to raise awareness for preventable disease and sickness.

Immunizations protect Airmen and their families’ wellness and play a large role in maintaining unit readiness.

“It is very important to stay up-to-date with vaccinations. While it is true, most of the diseases that we provide vaccinations for are rare, [we do so] because of proactive vaccination,” said Staff Sgt. Jose M. Leiva, 99th Medical Operations Squadron allergy and immunizations NCO in charge.

Several diseases have been known to be eradicated in the U.S., such as polio and smallpox, because of immunizations. There are other diseases such as measles, diphtheria and rubella that have been significantly reduced; however, many people in the U.S. still fall victim to these and other vaccine-preventable diseases as a result of not being vaccinated.

“Vaccinations help our immune system recognize disease-causing germs and microorganisms by developing specific disease-fighting proteins known as antibodies,” said Maj. Sandy Yip, 99th MDOS staff allergist, “If we are exposed to these specific germs in the future, we will be protected from getting sick or have a milder form of the illness.”

With the start of the new school year around the corner, parents must ensure school-age children are up-to-date on certain vaccinations in order to enroll the student in school.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccine-preventable disease levels are at or near record lows. Even though most infants and toddlers have received all recommended vaccines by age 2, many under-immunized children remain, leaving the potential for outbreaks of disease.

“Immunizations are considered one of modern medicine’s most triumphant success stories for their safety and effectiveness,” Leiva said.

For more information about vaccinations, please contact the 99th Medical Group Immunization Clinic at 702-653-2410; or visit the clinic in the Mike O’Callaghan Federal Medical Facility, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; or go to the CDC website at www.cdc.gov.




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