Which vaccinations are important for protection of women’s health? Here are the top 5 that we recommend!
According to the CDC, women should receive annual assessment of infection risks due to health, age, occupation, travel, lifestyle, and history of vaccinations. At The Woman’s Clinic, our gynecologists in Little Rock offer many kinds of vaccines so that you can stay healthy and keep doing the things you love. In addition to coming in for an annual visit, we recommend that you get the following vaccines!
1. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine
The majority of cervical cancers are associated with the human papilloma virus (HPV). When talking about the pros and cons of the HPV vaccine, we generally tell patients this—the HPV vaccine is widely considered to be safe and effective, you can get vaccinated up until the age of 26, and there are often little to no side effects. Here are the facts:
- Girls and boys ages 11 or 12 should receive the HPV vaccination.
- Ideally, youths should receive the vaccine before their first sexual contact.
- Pregnant women or people with moderate or severe illnesses should not have the HPV vaccination.
Do not get the HPV vaccine if you have experienced any allergic reactions to Latex, yeast, or to any element in the HPV vaccine. Vaccine side-effects are typically mild, involving swelling, redness, or soreness at the injection site. Other side effects are headache, dizziness or fainting, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness.
2. Influenza Vaccine
Adults and children 6 months of age or older should receive the Influenza vaccine each fall or winter. If you are feverish, wait until you recover to get a flu shot.
- Women who plan a pregnancy during flu season should be vaccinated.
- Women at high risk for flu-related complications should be vaccinated before flu season.
- Healthy adults aged 49 and under, excluding pregnant women, can receive the live attenuated flu vaccine. Everyone else should receive the inactivated influenza vaccine.
- Fluzone, a high-dosage vaccine, is available to people 65 and above.
Consult your doctor before receiving the influenza vaccine if you have had an allergic reaction to a flu shot, or to eggs, or had Guillain-Barr syndrome.
Women of childbearing age who are not pregnant, and who are not immune to varicella (chickenpox) should be vaccinated against varicella.
- If you’ve never had varicella, or you have received only one of the two doses of varicella vaccine, ask your doctor whether you need to be vaccinated again.
- This vaccine is especially recommended for adults ages 50 and above.
- The varicella vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. Ask your gynecologist about screening for varicella immunity in preparation for conception.
Do not get vaccinated for varicella if you have had an allergic reaction to the varicella vaccine, Neomycin, or gelatin.
4. Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
Anyone born after 1956 who has not been vaccinated for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella needs to receive at least 1 dose of the MMR vaccine.
- Health care workers and international travelers may require a second dose of MMR vaccine.
- The rubella portion of the MMR vaccine protects against congenital rubella syndrome. Women of childbearing age should receive screening for immunity to rubella.
- Women who are not immune, have not been vaccinated, and are not pregnant should receive the MMR vaccination.
- After receiving the MMR vaccine, women should wait for at least 3 months before becoming pregnant.
- This vaccine is recommended for adults age 50 and above.
Do not get an MMR vaccination if you have ever had a reaction to Neomycin, gelatin, or a previously received dose of MMR vaccine.
5. Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Td/Tdap)
Adults under age 65, healthcare providers, and anyone in contact with infants should receive these vaccines, with booster shots every decade.
- Women of childbearing age should keep their vaccines current.
- Pregnant women who have not received these vaccines within the last decade might need a vaccination during pregnancy.
- Grandparents should receive the vaccination, as Pertussis-related infant deaths have increased since 2000.
Do not have the Td or Tdap vaccines if you have ever experienced an allergic reaction to a vaccine. Consult your doctor before vaccination if you have ever had Guillain-Barr syndrome.
The Woman’s Clinic
The Woman’s Clinic’s gynecologists provide state-of-the-art healthcare in a comfortable, private setting. We provide gynecologic examinations, routine and high-risk obstetric care, sonography, cervical cancer screening, infertility treatment, bone density testing, treatment for urinary incontinence, and gynecologic surgery.