Vermilion County Health Department encourages everyone to get vaccinations

DANVILLE -- There are many things we want to pass on to our loved ones, but illness is not one of them.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, a time to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages in preventing serious, sometimes deadly, diseases.

Vaccinating our children is commonplace in the United States.  But few adults know they need vaccines other than flu vaccine and even fewer are fully vaccinated.

Each year, tens of thousands of adults needlessly suffer, are hospitalized, and even die as a result of diseases that could be prevented by vaccines, such as pertussis, hepatitis, shingles and pneumococcal disease.

Not only can vaccine-preventable diseases make a person very sick, but once a person becomes sick, he or she may risk spreading the disease to others.  Infants, older adults and people with weakened immune systems - such as those undergoing cancer treatment -- are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases, and are also more likely to have severe illness and complications if they do get sick.

“It is important for people to protect their health, and the health of their loved ones, by getting their recommended vaccines,” said Julie Fruhling, the Community Health Educator of the Vermilion County Health Department.

The good news is that getting vaccinated is fairly simple. Adults can get vaccines at doctors' offices, pharmacies, workplaces, health clinics and health departments.  Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines, and people can get the details of their plans by contacting their insurance providers.

Susan Fauver, the Nurse Coordinator of the Vermilion County Health Department's Immunization and Communicable Disease Division, recommends that all adults should get an annual flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu, and a Tdap to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, with a booster shot every ten years.

Fauver also recommended, depending on age, occupation, health condition, and other factors, getting vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Meningococcal, Pneumococcal, and Shingles.

As part of National Immunization Awareness Month, the health department is offering immunization clinics from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 3, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 9, from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 17 and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 23 at 200 South College Street in Danville.

The health department's full 2017 immunization schedule can be found at the health department's website, www.vchd.org<http://www.vchd.org>.

Immunizations are done by appointment only.  Appointments can be made by calling (217) 431-2662, ext, 249.  People must bring their current shot records to the appointment.  The health department can bill most insurance providers for immunizations, and accepts public aid cards, cash, checks, and credit cards for payment.

The health department also offers the vaccinations that are required for many students.  Parents or legal guardians can make appointments by calling (217) 431-2662, ext. 249.

If a person is travelling overseas, there may be additional vaccines needed, depending on the location.  Some travel-related vaccines are part of a series or are needed months prior to travel to be most effective, so planning ahead is advised.  Find out at www.cdc.gov/travel.

The health department hopes to receive its flu vaccine in late August, and will set the dates for its walk-in flu vaccination clinics after the vaccine arrives.  Please check the health department's website, www.vchd.org for updates.

“We all need immunizations to help protect us and our community from serious diseases,” said Fauver.  “National Immunization Awareness Month is a great opportunity to raise awareness of this important issue.” 

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