A 60-some year old male rancher suffered a puncture wound from a rusty barbed-wire fence. A week later, I was helping with his ICU care from a jaw-breaking tetanus infection. A current tetanus vaccination would have prevented this.
A hospital consultation to evaluate a patient with severe earache, dizziness, loss of hearing in affected ear, unilateral facial paralysis and a blistering rash on the affected ear. Ramsey Hunt Syndrome from herpes zoster (shingles) was diagnosed. A shingles vaccination would have prevented this.
Numerous surgical tracheotomy procedures performed because of prolonged respiratory failure with ventilator dependency from influenza, pneumonia or Covid infections that may have been prevented with proper vaccinations.
As a pharmacist and physician, I have been involved with healthcare for over 48 years. This career path allowed me to study the indications and pharmacology of medications, understand how vaccines support our own complex immune system and when to prescribe and recommend treatment. I learned early about the pioneers of the past in the development of vaccines (Edward Jenner—1796 smallpox, Louis Pasteur—1885 rabies) and the dawn of bacteriology. During these 48 years, many of the commonly used vaccines and antibiotics of today were studied and “invented”.
The Hepatitis B vaccine became required for operating surgeons and staff to prevent accidental needle sticks from becoming a life threatening infection. The year 2012 saw a whooping cough (pertussis) resurgence requiring booster revaccination of physicians and staff locally and across the nation.
In helping oversee the Abilene Taylor County Public Health Districts federal and state supported Texas Vaccination For Children program, I have learned how those children not previously able to obtain a vaccine are receiving care. The VFC program was initiated in 1994. Nationwide it has been estimated to have prevented 419 million illnesses and an estimated 936,000 childhood deaths (1994-2018). Twenty different vaccines are available through this amazing program.
As I have aged, various boosters have been required and new vaccines developed to help keep me healthy, active and caring for patients. I choose to be current in my vaccinations to protect my family, my patients and myself. I hope each of you will review your personal vaccination needs with your healthcare provider for a healthy and active life.
Stay healthy by living healthy.