COVID-19 Vaccines Are Now Available
Eligible Mississippi and Alabama residents may schedule an appointment online to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Supply is limited.
Vaccines and Immunizations
Being proactive about your health is an important part of ensuring better health outcomes over the short and long term. One of the best ways to stay proactive is by participating in an annual wellness exam. Traditionally, having an annual “physical” has become the norm for many people, but a standard physical exam tends to focus only on a “snapshot” of your overall health at a given time. An annual wellness exam, on the other hand, is designed to be a broader, more forward-looking health evaluation.
Why Get a Vaccine?
Vaccines are powerful tools for preventing or reducing the severity of infectious disease. By using a weakened form of a pathogen, a vaccination can stimulate the immune system to create antibodies. Antibodies, the body’s natural defense against infections, seek out and eliminate any pathogens that are detected in any of the body’s systems.
Vaccines can be effective against both viral and bacterial infections by essentially teaching the immune system how to defeat the pathogen in question. Additionally, a vaccine can be used prophylactically (as a means of preventing a disease) or therapeutically (as a means of fighting an infection that has already occurred).
Vaccines Offered by TrustCare
Most of the vaccines available can be administered on walk-in basis at any of our clinics. One exception is the polio vaccine; it must be requested by contacting one of our numerous locations.
Tdap: Tdap is a type of "combination vaccine" used to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Although the three diseases are different, one vaccine can provide immunity to all of them for up to 10 years. It is further recommended that adults get a booster dose every 10 years after that.
- Tetanus: Tetanus is an infection of the bacteria Clostridium tetani that can be found in soil, dust, manure, and saliva. Tetanus infections generally occur through open wounds or breaks in the skin, though it can’t be spread from person to person. The bacteria produces toxins in the body that can cause muscle spasms and a variety of other symptoms.
- Diphtheria: The bacteria involved in diphtheria is called Corynebacterium diphtheriae, and an infection can cause symptoms such as fever, sore throat, coughing, and swollen lymph nodes; in very severe cases, it may cause paralysis or even death. Diphtheria can be spread from person to person or through the air.
- Pertussis: Also known as whooping cough, pertussis is a contagious bacterial disease caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. Though pertussis can be treated with antibiotics, the vaccine for it is included in Tdap because of the potential severity of the disease and the fact that it can be easily passed to other people through aerosolized particles.
MMR: The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, three infectious diseases that are similar in terms of transmission. MMR is also a combination vaccine, and the three biological preparations are given simultaneously in order to reduce the number of shots needed.
- Measles: This highly contagious disease is an infection of the measles virus. Initial symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and inflammation of the eyes, but eventually small white spots and a red rash develop on the face and elsewhere on the body. Measles is airborne and can easily spread from person to person through the air.
- Mumps: Mumps is also highly contagious, and it is caused by the mumps virus. Humans are the only species that can host the mumps virus, and it can be spread person to person through direct contact or through respiratory secretions. Symptoms include headache, fever, malaise, and muscle pain, followed by swollen parotid glands.
- Rubella: Also known as German measles, rubella is a viral infection of the rubella virus. The disease is often very mild and can even go unnoticed, but when symptoms develop, they may include a rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever, fatigue, and a sore throat.
Influenza: The flu shot is one of the most well-known vaccines because it is recommended by doctors every flu season (approximately between October and February) in order to prevent serious illness and lessen community spread.
Hepatitis A and B: Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that is often caused by a hepatitis virus. Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are the same basic disease but caused by two separate strains of the virus. All types of the hepatitis impact the liver, and the symptoms can vary in terms of both type and severity.
Polio: The polio vaccine is used to prevent poliomyelitis, an infection caused by poliovirus. Polio is a life-threatening disease that can cause numerous symptoms and complications, including paralysis and meningitis. Polio generally infects the throat and intestines and can be found in feces. It is highly contagious and can spread through direct person-to-person contact, but the well-established vaccine has now nearly eradicated the virus worldwide.
Varicella: The varicella vaccine is also sometimes known as the chickenpox vaccine because it is primarily used to prevent chickenpox, a contagious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus. In addition to small, itchy blisters that can appear all over the body, chickenpox can also cause fatigue, headaches, and fever.
TB Skin Test: While not a vaccine, a TB skin test is used as a screening tool for tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease of the lungs that can cause chronic coughing and a variety of respiratory-related complications. If the TB skin test indicates the presence of the TB bacteria, antibiotics and other treatments can be easily implemented.
What is an Immunization?
The terms “vaccination” and “immunization” are often used interchangeably, but they actually have slightly different meanings. A vaccination is the act of administering a vaccine to a person (usually through a hypodermic needle) in order to produce immunity to a given infectious disease. Immunization, by contrast, is the name of the overall process of becoming immune to a particular infectious disease; this process is often initiated through the use of a vaccine, but it can also happen when a person contracts a disease and is able to fight it off through normal immune system responses.
When a person first gets a vaccine, it may take days or even weeks for the process to actually result in immunity. This delay is the result of antibodies being created that will actually “remember” how to eliminate any future infections. Some vaccinations require multiple doses staggered over different time periods to achieve immunity. Some, like a tetanus shot, require regular boosters over a person’s whole lifespan.