Vaccinations

Did you know that you can now access your Washington state immunization records for your family online? Registration is quick and easy. You can learn more at www.wa.myir.net

Immunization recommendations have changed in recent years with as many as four new shots recommended for teenage girls (HPV, Hepatitis A, Meningitis, Tetanus with Whooping Cough), and three new shots recommended for teen boys (Hepatitis A, Meningitis, Tetanus with Whooping Cough). Any child of any school age that has not yet had the Chickenpox vaccine or natural disease is also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

Those entering kindergarten are also in need of an immunization review. A child that takes any medication (including Tylenol or Ibuprofen) must have an order from a healthcare provider for the medication to be given at school. Children with asthma or severe allergies, including food allergies, must also have a signed emergency plan on file with the school. Click here for a schedule of childhood immunizations, and adolescent immunizations.  A quick trip to your SFM provider can eliminate headaches (in more ways than one) for you and your child.

For children, Washington State purchases and provides our clinics vaccines for your convenience. We provide these for all children according to care guidelines regardless of ability to pay.

Adult vaccines can be obtained in Washington State directly through your pharmacy without a prescription. Flu shots, pneumonia vaccines, tetanus boosters, and, for some insurances, shingles vaccines can be given at SFM as well.

Get additional vaccination and screening information from our “How often do I need to see the doctor?” reference tool.

Flu Shots

Each year in the United States, on average more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 people die from seasonal flu. The CDC recommends an annual seasonal flu vaccine as the first and most important step in prevention. The vaccine can protect you from getting sick or it can make your illness milder, if you do come down with the flu. We typically begin offering flu vaccines at the beginning of September.

The CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months and older be vaccinated; however, it is especially important that the following at-risk groups be vaccinated:

  • Children aged 6 months through 4 years
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults 50 years of age and older
  • Adults who are morbidly obese
  • Adults of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  • Adults who are American Indians or Alaska Natives
  • Adults who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Adults who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including: health care workers, household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu and household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age

Is it safe to get a flu shot if I’m pregnant?

The CDC recommends that women who will be pregnant during influenza season get a flu shot. Flu season in North America usually peaks from November to March. Flu shots are made from killed (inactivated) influenza virus, making it safe during any stage of pregnancy. Pregnancy can affect your immune system and can also put extra stress on your heart and lungs. As a result, you may be at increased risk of not only getting the flu, but developing serious complications from the flu, including pneumonia. In addition, pregnant women who become ill with the flu are far more likely to require hospitalization for flu complications than are women who are not pregnant and come down with the flu.

We expect that we will have an adequate supply of flu vaccine for all of our patients who need it. However, we suggest that you come in early so that you will be protected for the entire flu season. Protect yourself and your family, today!

Tetanus-Diphtheria Booster Shots

The great news here is that the Td (tetanus/diphtheria) booster has become the TDaP. It now has a booster for the pertussis (whooping cough) bacteria that can be lethal in babies, but in adults causes a coughing illness that can last weeks or months.  Getting this booster not only prevents tetanus and diphtheria, but reduces your risk of contracting whooping cough and passing it on to young babies or elderly persons.  You should get the TDaP every ten years, although it is recommended for expectant parents to have a TDaP before their baby is born. To be safe, other caretakers or close contacts for a newborn should be sure they are current on this vaccine.

HPV Vaccine

HPV vaccines are given as three shots to protect against HPV infection and HPV-related diseases. The vaccine has been shown to protect against most cervical cancers and is most effective if administered prior to engaging in sexual activity. The HPV vaccine is also now recommended for teen boys and men up to age 21.

Shingles Vaccination

Zostavax can reduce the chance of shingles in adults over age 60 by over 50% and reduce the chance of severe shingles and long-standing pain by over 75%. This is a one-time vaccination and is recommended for all adults age 60+. It is well worth getting and is easy to overlook. Most insurances have set this up as a medication coverage benefit, meaning they recommend you obtain this at your pharmacy. In Washington, you can have any vaccine through your pharmacy without a prescription. Ask about this at your next visit or online using mySFM.

Pneumonia Vaccination

The Pneumovax vaccine is recommended for adults age 65 and older, and younger adults with asthma, chronic lung disease and many other chronic illnesses. All adults over 65 years old need this one-time vaccine.  If you have not yet had it, get it with your next flu shot or physical exam.  An additional pneumonia vaccine, Prevnar should be used for adults over 65.  If you have not had Pneumovax yet, Prevnar should be given first.

 

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