Vaccinations are important for both children and adults alike. Immunization is simply a way to get your body's immune system to provide protection against disease before you get sick. Here's how they work:

When you are immunized, you are given a vaccine that contains a tiny bit of the bacteria or virus that causes the illness you are trying to prevent. After you receive the vaccine, the immune system goes to work in exactly the same way it would if you actually were infected with the germ. Now you have the protection you need against the illness, without having to get sick first. The next time you are exposed to that bug, the antibodies that your immune system produced will prevent the disease.

Adults are encouraged to review their shot records. If you are between 19-64 years of age, you should receive a single dose of Tdap if you have not received a tetanus booster in the past 10 years. Adults who have or will have close contact with infants less than 12 months of age (e.g., parents, childcare and healthcare providers, close family members) should receive a single dose of Tdap. If you are over 65 years of age there is a new High-dose Inactive Influenza Vaccine that will be available and will be covered by Medicare. The 2010-11 influenza vaccine will include both the seasonal flu and H1N1 together in a single dose. Other vaccines to look for are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Pneumococcal.

Youth vaccination records need to be reviewed at 10-11 years of age. School law requires Tdap booster during this time. Also recommended are Meningococcal vaccine between 11-18 years of age and HPV vaccine for both females and males between 9-26 years of age.

Childhood vaccination recommendations this year are to include the Influenza vaccination at greater than 6 months of age. If this will be the first year your child will receive the flu vaccine and they are under the age of 8, they will need two initial doses given 28 days apart. After the initial two doses they will receive one dose per year consecutively.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention release schedules of recommended immunizations for health care professionals and the general public.

Annual Assessment of Immunization Rates and Practices

Clatsop County Public Health Department offers immunizations (vaccines) to infants, children and adults. Cost for immunizations are based on the cost of the vaccine and the administrative fee. The Oregon Health Plan is accepting in most situations. Our Astoria office is open Monday 1-5 p.m. and Tuesday through Thursday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The office is closed between noon-1 p.m. daily. Outreach clinic information will be posted on our website at varied times throughout the year. To schedule an appointment, phone us at (503) 325-8500.