Diseases that were once common in the United States and around the world are at or near record lows thanks to vaccines. For example, American parents once faced everyday fear that polio would affect their children, but a vaccine has since eliminated polio in the United States. And one of the most horrible diseases in our history, small pox, has been eradicated, now only existing in laboratories.
While most children receive all recommended vaccines by age 2, many under-immunized children remain, leaving the potential for outbreaks of disease. Many adolescents and adults are under-immunized, too.
CHILDREN: For children, all recommended vaccines are administered at county health centers if the child is uninsured, underinsured or covered by Medicaid.
ADULTS: The following vaccines are available through county health centers to adults. Vaccine services to adults may be paid for by the individual or billed to a private insurance provider. Influenza, MMR (mumps, measles, rubella), Polio, Meningococcal, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Pneumococcal, Varicella (Chicken Pox), Tdap (Tentanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis) and Shingles. Also, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is available to adults 26 and younger.
It’s critical to community health that children and adults maintain the recommended vaccination schedules. An under-vaccinated population creates the potential for outbreak. Such is the case with pertussis or whooping cough. As vaccination for pertussis has declined in recent years, the number of cases has climbed and has reached national outbreak status. In fact, in 2012, more than 48,000 cases were reported, the most since 1955. That year, 20 people, mostly babies younger than 3 months, died from whooping cough.
Of special note is the meningococcal vaccine. The bacteria that can lead to Meningococcal disease is spread through respiratory and throat secretions. It commonly leads to meningitis or a bloodstream infection, both very serious and possibly fatal.
A vaccine is recommended for all 11- to 18-year-olds. Living in a community setting increases the risk of meningococcal disease and first-year college students living in residence halls have a slightly increased risk. A vaccine is recommended and available for college students.
Local health departments investigate each case of meningococcal disease and ensure all close contacts of the patient are identified and receive antibiotics to keep them from developing the disease.
The following are vaccine-preventable diseases:
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Influenza (Seasonal Flu)
Japanese Encephalitis (JE)
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Rubella (German Measles)
Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
Your local health department works to educate about the importance of vaccination to increase vaccine coverage in our communities. Please reference the schedules above to ensure you and your loved ones are properly vaccinated.
Specialty vaccines not offered at our health centers may be obtained at travel clinics. These specialty vaccines include Anthrax, Japanese Encephalitis, Malaria Prophylaxis, Typhoid and Yellow Fever. Contact one of the following travel clinics for more information on these vaccines.
University of Louisville Vaccine and International Travel Center
Located in the 550 Clinic
550 South Jackson Street
Ambulatory Care Building, 2nd Floor
Louisville, KY 40202
Passport Health Travel Clinic
320 Whittington Parkway, Suite 201
Louisville, KY 40222
Passport Health Travel Clinic
841 Corporate Drive, Suite 210
Lexington, KY 40503
READ MORE: These Vaccine Information Statements explain the benefits and risks of all vaccines.