Vaccines and Immunization

Vaccines and Immunization

House Call Doctor Los Angeles and Dr. Michael Farzam offer all the vaccines children and adults need to be protected from a wide variety of serious, painful, and often deadly illnesses – from yearly flu shots to the many essential immunizations we all need to be safe. This means that you or your children can go through the speedy process of receiving a wide variety of vaccines wherever you are: at home, in a hotel, at work all delivered to you by one of the LA area’s finest and best-liked internists. From the yearly flu vaccines to the latest Covid-19 boosters, a 24-hour doctor is here to keep you and those closest to you safe. 

Vaccination Vaccine Syringe Injection Prevention Immunization Treatment Coronavirus Covid 19
A doctor draws the coronavirus vaccine into a syringe.The concept of vaccination, immunization.

Vaccine and Immunization Basics

Doctors and other experts often refer to being vaccinated and being immunized interchangeably. They are not the same, though they are part of the same process. When you are vaccinated you’re receiving a substance designed to train your body to resist a virus or bacterial illness. Immunization is the training process spurred on by the vaccine, which traditionally consists of a dead or disabled virus or bacteria. Typically, there is a lag of perhaps two weeks between the time an individual is vaccinated and when the person becomes fully immunized.

Why Vaccines and Immunizations are Essential

Vaccines protect us against all kinds of serious illnesses including once-common but still dangerous and painful illnesses like measles, whooping cough (pertussis), mumps, and chicken pox. That also includes deadly scourges like polio that disabled and killed untold millions of children before the famed Salk and Sabin vaccines of the 1960s.

Immunization is especially important for children. While you may have read that Covid vaccines are not currently mandated at public schools and elsewhere, several vaccines are still required by the California Department of Public Health for all Pre-K students. These include treatments against polio, hepatitis B, chicken pox, and DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis). Other vaccines available for young adults are HPV (human papilloma vaccine, also known as Gardasil) vaccines. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has similar requirements for K-12. 

As we age, safety calls for boosters of many of these shots. Dr. Farzam strongly advises that all of his patients stay up to date on all of their immunizations. For adults, we offer boosters for Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis-whooping cough), as well as Pneumonia vaccines (also known as Pneumovax) and shingles vaccine (also known as Shingrix).  If you’re not sure about what you may need, the doctor will be happy to suggest a course of action. 

Vaccine Side Effects

Sore arms at the location of the injection are by far the most common side effect that many people experience. Shots for flu and other illnesses may make some people feel mildly under the weather for a very brief time, while others will feel no reaction at all. 

Covid-19 shots have mild side effects for some but not all people. At their worst, the body’s defense mechanisms produce flu-like symptoms for one to three days. Many people experience somewhat worse flu-ish symptoms after the second shot.* Covid boosters can also have side effects but most patients report that they grow milder with each new shot. 

Every vaccine may have some side effects, so it’s a good idea to ask your doctor what to expect with other types of shots.

* “Safety of mRNA vaccines administered during the initial 6 months of the US COVID-19 vaccination programme: an observational study of reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and v-safe,” The Lancet. Hannah G. Rosenblum, M.D., Julianne Gee, M.P.H. Ruiling Liu, Ph.D., Paige L Marquez, MSPH, Bicheng Zhang, MS, Penelope Strid, MPH, Winston E. Abara, M.D., Michael M. McNeil, M.D., Tanya R Myers, Ph.D., Anne M. Hause, Ph.D., John R. Su, M.D., Lauri E. Markowitz, M.D., Tom T. Shimabukuro, M.D., David K. Shay, M.D. March 07, 2022

Microbiologist working late at night for new vaccine

How Do Vaccines Work?

There are viruses and bacteria all around us but there’s a reason we are not constantly sick. The immune system manufactures antibodies, which are often likened to soldiers defending against dangerous intruders. When we get an illness, armies of antibodies are made by our immune system the fight off the virus or bacteria. Once our antibodies have faced an enemy, our microbial military becomes skilled at defeating it. Typically, if we come into contact with the same microbe, antibodies can neutralize it almost instantly. That’s immunity.

The problem is that getting sick, even temporarily, is never good. More importantly, some microbes are so dangerous our antibodies might not be able to learn how to defeat them quickly enough to protect us from serious harm or death.

Some newer vaccines use Messenger RNA (mRNA) instead of a virus. These molecules cause the immune system to produce a safe version of the virus to learn from – something like the way soldiers and police may use simulations to learn how to deal with dangerous situations. The best-known mRNA vaccines are for Covid, but others are being used as flu shots. 

Catch up on Your Immunizations with House Call Doctor Los Angeles

Vaccines have been widely used for well over a century and have saved millions upon millions from painful, debilitating, and often deadly illnesses. Dr. Michael Farzam and House Call Doctor Los Angeles are here to provide all of the shots patients need wherever they may be: at home, work, hotels, and most other places in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Get started by calling the number on your screen on filling out the form on this page. 

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