Q: What’s your stance on vaccinations as a preventative measure?
Vaccinations are one of the most effective tools we have to prevent a wide range of infectious diseases. They not only protect the individual who receives the vaccine but also contribute to the health and well-being of the entire community through herd immunity.
Vaccinations have played a pivotal role in reducing the incidence of many deadly diseases, some of which were once widespread and devastating. Not only do vaccines save countless lives, but they are also a cost-effective way to manage and control diseases, reducing the burden on healthcare systems and improving overall public health.
I believe in evidence-based medicine, and the overwhelming body of scientific research supports the safety and efficacy of vaccines. They undergo rigorous testing and monitoring before being approved for use, and their benefits far outweigh the risks. It's important for individuals to make informed decisions about vaccines, and as a physician, I am here to provide accurate information, address concerns, and guide patients towards making the best choices for their health.
Q: What vaccinations do you recommend for adults this fall?
As a virtual care physician, I recommend vaccinations for adults based on their age, medical history, and individual risk factors. Vaccinations are essential to protect against preventable diseases and promote overall health. This fall, I’m recommending that adults receive:
- Influenza (Flu) Vaccine: I recommend the annual flu vaccine for all adults, especially those over 65, healthcare workers, and individuals with chronic medical conditions. Influenza can lead to severe illness and complications, and the vaccine helps reduce the risk of infection.
- COVID-19 Vaccine: Given the ongoing pandemic, I strongly recommend COVID-19 vaccination for all eligible adults. Vaccination is a critical tool in controlling the spread of the virus and preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
For adults over 65 years of age, I may also recommend:
- Pneumococcal Vaccine: Depending on age and medical history, we often recommend one or both of the pneumococcal vaccines, PPSV23 and PCV13. These vaccines protect against pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae.
- RSV Vaccine: While RSV infections are often mild, for older adults there is a possibility of a more severe impact, including serious complications such as pneumonia or exacerbation of congestive heart failure (CHF), asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in older adults.
For patients with any questions about recommended vaccines, the CirrusMD provider network can answer members’ questions, 24/7/365.
Q: Why are vaccinations an important public health tool?
Vaccinations are vital for public health because they prevent disease, stimulating the immune system to fight off specific pathogens; create herd immunity, protecting those who are unable to get vaccinated; reduce disease spread, helping create an environment with fewer susceptible individuals, lowering infection rates and outbreaks; prevent severe complications, saving lives and healthcare costs.
Vaccinations are a cost effective way to reduce disease spread, even globally, and provide a framework for responding to emerging diseases. They’re a valuable tool!
Q: Why do patients need to get multiple doses or repeat vaccines?
This is an important issue with infections during the fall flu season and Covid-19. The reason vaccines need to be repeated is because our immune system's memory fades over time. It needs to be "reminded" regularly to keep protecting our bodies. Also, viruses mutate quickly and often, and sometimes our older antibodies are no longer protective, so we need to help them "learn" new defenses through updated vaccines.
Q: How do you stay updated on the latest vaccine safety and efficacy data?
There are a number of ways CirrusMD physicians stay up-to-date on vaccine data.
We’ll rely on information coming from government health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These agencies monitor and assess vaccines for safety and effectiveness and provide valuable updates.
CirrusMD physicians have extensive peer-to-peer collaboration, so we can share knowledge among our network of expert doctors.
We continually monitor updates, including any alerts, recalls or updates made to vaccines. Public health updates are critical, especially during outbreaks or pandemics, to quickly adapt to changing vaccination recommendations and guidelines.
Q: How do you address questions or concerns patients may have about vaccines?
Physicians on the CirrusMD network are trained to ensure we answer all questions and concerns patients may have about adult vaccinations. During our chat-based encounter, we’re going to carefully listen to the patient’s concerns and provide clear information about the benefits of vaccinations, safety and timing. We’re going to evaluate their health history and risks so we can make safe recommendations.
I also like to help people with concerns understand the rigorous vaccine testing processes that are in place, the rare risks, any known side effects, and importantly, the effectiveness of vaccinations. There are so many misconceptions about vaccinations, and if we look to medical science, we can address those misconceptions with evidence.
Finally, we always respect the choices made by our patients, and offer support as needed. We’re here to help patients make informed choices that take into consideration their health history, risks, and their needs and concerns.
Ultimately, vaccinations are a vital part of preventive healthcare, and I am dedicated to promoting their use to help protect individuals, families, and communities from preventable diseases.