Our Shot to Protect: The Importance of Immunizations

By Gregory Kosters, DO of Avera Medical Group Sibley

“Save lives, starting with your own”. This saying in relation to vaccines is true in more aspects than one. Immunizations save lives. Flu vaccines, COVID vaccines, Tdap (tetanus) and more – help not only you, but they protect future generations through their eradication of diseases. Though many diseases have been eradicated, many still pose a threat to the unvaccinated.

Vaccines activate an immune response in our bodies without giving us the illness. The degree of which they are researched is highly extensive. Vaccinations are one of the most monumental medical advancements and tools we have to prevent disease in both adolescents and adults. Most vaccines are studied in a very complex process with the efforts of public and private research and testing over the course of, at least, 10-15 years.

Vaccines are very safe. In fact, it is well-known that it is much safer to get a vaccine than it is to get an infectious disease. Receiving a vaccine takes less than 30 seconds from prep to administration, while an illness can result in days or weeks of loss of your time and potentially death. For perspective, the average flu illness may last up to 15 days, typically between five-six missed work or school days. COVID-19 illness is on a similar timeline. Beyond missed time, an illness leaves the individual unable to care for their loved ones who depend on them, including children and elderly parents. The benefits of getting vaccinated for the flu and any disease significantly outweigh the risks.

Illness can strike anyone, even the young and healthy. However, thanks to improvements in childhood vaccination, adolescent deaths and disability have fallen to a fraction of what they had been decades ago. In a school setting, it’s vital that children get vaccinated to protect their peers and their family members.

In receiving your vaccine and taking your children to receive their vaccine, you’re preventing disease not just in yourself and your family, but in the community where you live and work.

Different vaccines are recommended for different age ranges. This time of year, the flu vaccine is recommended for everyone and the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for anyone above the age of five. Speak with an Avera Medical Group Sibley physician on recommended vaccines based on your age and risk factors. Call to schedule your appointment today at 712-754-3658.