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Immunizations Protect the Community and Generations to Come

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  • Written By: Tammie Kay Perez FNP
Immunizations Protect the Community and Generations to Come

When an individual feels sick, wants to address a health concern, or receives an annual check-up, they visit a doctor and trust that any problems will be addressed and solved. These visits should also include prevention and protection measures which often come from immunizations. The World Health Organization proclaims immunization to be a key component of primary health care and that it reduces the risks of getting a disease by working with our body’s natural defenses to build protection.

When we think of immunizations, we often think of flu shots and, in recent years, the COVID-19 vaccine. However, immunization can come in many forms and is recommended for all ages–from infancy to adulthood. Some Arizona-recommended vaccines include but are not limited to Chickenpox, Hepatitis A & B, Mumps and Tetanus.

While self-protection is a big part of why many receive recommended vaccinations, individuals should also think about the benefits to the community, which include:

  • Protection of future generations. Harmful diseases such as smallpox have been eradicated worldwide thanks to the success of immunization. Children today are no longer at risk of obtaining the condition; therefore a smallpox shot is no longer needed. If adults continue vaccinating now, diseases may no longer be around to affect future generations.
  • Prevention against harmful diseases that can have life-threatening outcomes or result in prolonged disabilities. Addressing health concerns already present may be more time-consuming, costly, and dangerous than taking preventative measures against them in the first place through vaccination.
  • Long-term health investments in communities. With immunizations protecting individuals against harmful diseases, communities can become stronger and healthier.

While getting a seasonal flu shot and vaccinations are essential, what is arguably more important – and is often overlooked – is the community’s access to these immunizations.

Some individuals or families cannot pay for a doctor’s visit, are unsure where to find quality care, or do not have the luxury of healthcare at their fingertips.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) recognizes the state of health disparities in the U.S. and is committed to improving healthcare within communities through our provision of primary care, behavioral health, and social services to all ages, faiths, and backgrounds – regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.

Why is this important?

Accepting AHCCCS insurance plans, CMDP and Medicare, JFCS integrated healthcare centers offer primary and mental health care under one roof, eliminating many barriers to quality care. This approach leads to positive health outcomes and is cost-effective, which can help close the gap to the health disparities present today – including access to immunizations.

Immunization means more than just a flu shot. Vaccinations offer protection and prevention within communities. And by integrating primary and behavioral health care, those same communities are supported, strengthened, and granted affordable access to quality care.

Tammie Kay Perez is a Family Nurse Practitioner at the JFCS West Valley Healthcare Center. To find a healthcare center, visit our locations page.