BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - While the COVID-19 vaccine is here, health care providers want to remind patients that it is equally important to stay up to date on your current annual immunizations.
Yearly immunizations are considered preventive. Family medicine physicians at the University of Alabama at Birmingham want patients to schedule appropriate immunizations, on top of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available based on the Alabama Department of Public Health’s phased plan.
“In addition to the COVID-19 vaccine, there are many vaccines that can help prevent illness and keep patients healthy,” said Erin DeLaney, M.D., a family medicine physician and the vice chair for Clinical Operations and Quality for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UAB. “These may include, but are not limited to, vaccines for the flu, pneumonia, shingles, tetanus and meningitis. If patients have questions about these immunizations, they should discuss them with their primary care physician. Any of these vaccines can be safely given at least 14 days before or after the COVID-19 vaccines.”
DeLaney said the COVID-19 vaccine is the most important and should take priority over other vaccinations, but she said you need to stay on top of all them. She said if you aren’t getting your updated vaccines, your body could experience more severe COVID symptoms and increases your risk of hospitalization.
Dr. DeLaney said there are different recommended vaccines for each age group, but she said it’s important to wait at least 14 days in between each vaccination.
“If you started the COVID vaccine series, you need two vaccines at this point for us in Alabama, if you started that series, I would certainly wait until you’ve completed that series before getting another vaccine.”
A full list of immunization recommendations and guidelines is available on the CDC’s website.