The Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Hospital Association, and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama are encouraging Alabamians to ask their physician about the flu shot and other vaccines as a part of a statewide Ask Me campaign. Helpful information and additional resources can be found at https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/immunization/ask.html There are several vaccines being recommended this year to help avoid respiratory illnesses. Each type is designed to work with your immune system to fight off certain kinds of germs—and the serious diseases they cause.
Vaccines to talk to your physician about include:
- Seasonal Influenza (Flu) – It’s recommended that all individuals 6 months of age and older, with rare exceptions, should get an annual flu vaccination. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications.
- RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) – RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious. Infants and older adults are more likely to develop severe RSV and need hospitalization. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the new RSV vaccine for adults over age 60 and children up to 23 months.
- Pneumonia – Pneumococcal disease is common in young children, but older adults are at greatest risk of serious illness and death. The CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for all children younger than 5 years old and all adults 65 years or older.
- COVID-19 – It is recommended that everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine recommendations are based on age, time since the last dose, and in some cases, the first vaccine received.
The statewide organizations also want to remind the public that simple hygiene efforts, such as washing your hands, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and staying home when you’re sick can also help protect against these infectious diseases.