Get vaccinated, and show it off


Bucky says: Get vaccinated

Bucky says: Get vaccinated. Photo: http://uwmadvax.tumblr.com/

Vaccines are important. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can list at least 10 reasons why. Curious? See below.

Here at UWMadScience, we want to know why YOU get vaccinated. Maybe you don’t want to get the flu again this year. Maybe you have a newborn at home, or an elderly relative, and you want to keep him or her safe. Or, maybe you want to significantly reduce your risk of contracting or spreading a virus that causes cancers in women and men, from cervical to penile.

Cowabunga! Photo: http://uwmadvax.tumblr.com/

Cowabunga! Photo: http://uwmadvax.tumblr.com/

Whatever your reason, consider sharing your vaccine. We are looking for pictures, mostly in the form of the band-aid covering the injection site, be it plain or flashy, to allow you to show off your choice to get vaccinated, and, if you’d like, share your story about why you made that choice. You don’t have to be affiliated with UW-Madison at all.

We are sharing those photos here, on our Tumblr page, which we will also feature here from time to time. Check in often and learn more about why we get vaccines, who should and shouldn’t get them, and what they do for all of us. Plus, you’ll get to learn what motivates others, see some fun pictures, and be part of something that protects us all.

From the CDC, here are just SOME of the reasons to get vaccines:

  1. You may be at risk for serious diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. Many of these diseases (like influenza, pertussis, and shingles) are common in the US, and many can be spread easily.
  2. You may be at increased risk for complications from certain diseases if you have a chronic health condition or weakened immune system. Adults with chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop complications from certain vaccine-preventable diseases. These complications can include long-term illness, hospitalization, and even death.
  3. You can reduce the chance that you’ll pass on a serious disease to your loved ones. Most vaccine-preventable disease can be contagious, like influenza, meningitis, and whooping cough. Receiving your recommended vaccines can reduce the risk that you get sick and spread disease on to others.
  4. You can help protect those who can’t get vaccinated. People with certain medical conditions (like pregnant women or people undergoing cancer treatment) may not be able to get certain vaccines, but are very vulnerable to illness. Vaccines can help prevent the spread of contagious diseases to them. For example, newborns who are too young to get vaccinated for whooping cough are also most at risk of severe illness from the disease. In cases where the source is known, 4 out of 5 babies caught the disease from someone in the home – a parent, sister or brother, grandparent, or babysitter.
  5. You don’t have time to get sick. You have too much responsibility to risk getting sick, including people counting on you at work and at home. Vaccines can help you stay healthy so don’t waste time being sick.
  6. You don’t want to miss what’s important to you. Spending time with family and friends or taking time out for your hobbies may not be possible if you get sick. Vaccines can help you stay healthy and enjoy the things you like to do.
  7. You don’t want to pay the price of getting sick. Adults who get a vaccine-preventable disease face the financial costs of medical visits and treatment, in addition to other costs like taking time off work, hiring babysitters, and traveling to and from healthcare professionals.
  8. You like to travel – or have to travel for work. Travel can present exciting opportunities, but it can also put you at risk for certain diseases. Make sure you only bring back great memories, not illness! If you are going to travel internationally, you might need additional vaccines. See the vaccinations and travel checklist.
  9. You want the peace of mind that comes with protecting your health. People sometimes wait to get vaccines until they hear of outbreaks of disease like pertussis or influenza in their community. The time to be vaccinated is before disease arrives. It’s important to stay up-to-date on your immunizations because no one can predict when disease will appear.
  10. You don’t want to feel crummy if you can prevent it! No one wants to feel sick. There are more than a dozen diseases that you can protect against simply by getting vaccinated! Adult vaccines are available at doctor’s offices, health departments, pharmacies, and even workplaces.
Artistic interpretation of a virus particle//Photo by: Christian Inouye, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

Artistic interpretation of a virus particle//Photo by: Christian Inouye, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

Also, UW-Madison students can get free flu shots, and faculty and staff can take advantage of several pop-up clinics around campus providing the flu vaccine for the next several weeks. It’s free for those with particular forms of health insurance.

“The flu shot not only reduces an individual’s risk of getting the flu; it helps to keep campus healthier as a whole, because the virus spreads at a slower rate in highly immunized populations,” says Sarah Van Orman, UW-Madison’s chief health officer.

If you’re still reading, it means you haven’t sent us a vaccine photo yet. Get to it! Post directly to the Tumblr page if you’re already there, or, send the photo and any relevant details to kelly.tyrrell@wisc.edu.