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Why are Immunizations So Important?

Immunizations – especially childhood immunizations – are commonly regarded as the most important public health achievement of the last century. They have saved countless lives and prevented disease and lifelong disability for millions of others. Only a few decades ago, many of the diseases which can now be prevented by childhood immunizations commonly resulted in children being hospitalized, dying, or suffering from health complications for the rest of their lives. Now, without immunizations, many of the diseases which we are now protected against can make a comeback, and that’s why it’s so critical that we continue to immunize people against these diseases.

All parents want to give their child the best start in life and getting your child immunized is one of the first major decisions you have to make as a parent – especially since there are no effective alternatives. The decision to immunize your child is also vital to keeping our community safer and healthier as a whole.

Immunizations are also important for adults, particularly adults over the age of 65. Often, adults are not aware of the health benefits and protections that certain immunizations can provide.

Unfortunately, there is a good deal of confusing, conflicting, and outright incorrect information regarding the safety of childhood immunizations. That’s why it’s critical to remain skeptical of what information you read or hear about, check out where it came from, and see if it’s supported by additional sources. We want patients to know the facts, that’s why all the information on this web page has been checked and verified by physicians and infectious disease experts.

Call (505.955.9454) Southwest Care Center today to start the conversation about whether immunizations are needed to protect your health or the health of your child.

What to Expect at Your Immunization Visit

The medical professionals at Southwest Care Center will review your immunization record and advise you on what immunizations are needed to get you up to date. You will be provided with information about the immunizations you require and will be given the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

Before the immunization is given, you will be asked to sign a piece of paper called a “consent,” and you will be given information about what to expect after the immunization is administered.

Immunizations are given in the leg for a young child and arm for an older child or adult.

Keeping Track of Childhood Immunizations

The majority of a child’s immunizations will be completed by the time they are six years old. Many immunizations are administered multiple times at different ages and in different combinations. Although Southwest Care Center will keep track of the immunizations provided to your child, it is a good idea for parents to keep a record as well. It’s not uncommon for people to change doctors or move out of state, and this can result in difficulty obtaining this information, which may be required to enroll in a new school.

Southwest Care Center will happily provide parents with an immunization record form. We encourage parents to treat their child’s immunization records much as they would a birth certificate and make sure to store it with other important paperwork.

You can also download and print an easy-to-read immunization schedule and record form by clicking on one of the links below. This immunization schedule is recommended by the CDC, the AAP and most physicians. It is reviewed annually by a diverse group of healthcare providers and public health officials and changed as necessary to include the latest research and safety guidelines.



Most states won’t allow children to start school unless they present a complete immunization record. While most doctors and parents are able to keep up with immunization standards, studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that as many as one-fourth of children entering preschool were found to be missing at least one routine scheduled immunization.

If your child is missing an immunization (for whatever reason), don’t fret, you don’t have to start over for most immunizations. Any previous immunizations are still good, and your doctor can simply resume with the immunization schedule as normal. If your child receives an immunization twice, this is also not a concern.

Adults Need Immunizations Too

Each year, thousands of adults in the United States fall seriously ill and are hospitalized because of diseases that could have been prevented by an immunization. Many people even die from these diseases, as the body is often not equipped to fight off the disease, or due to complications that arise as a result of the disease. By getting a simple immunization, you may be able to protect yourself from unnecessary suffering, as well as protect others who may contract the disease from you.

Even if you were immunized for a disease as a child, certain immunizations wear off over time. You may also be at elevated risk for other diseases due to your occupation, lifestyle, travel habits or any current health conditions.

Take the time to speak to your doctor about your immunizations to make sure you are current to avoid contracting preventable illnesses.

Immunizations for Adults Age 65 and Older

Immunizations become important again for older adults. As we age, our immune systems weaken, making it more difficult for our bodies to fight off infections. We also become more susceptible to complications from influenza, pneumonia, and other illness. Complications from immunization-preventable illness can lead to long-term or chronic health conditions, hospitalization, and even death.

If you have a health condition such as diabetes or heart disease, getting immunized is especially important. Immunizations can protect you from serious diseases, along with the possible complications associated with them, so that you can stay healthy as you age.

Travel Medicine

People traveling to foreign countries may also require immunizations for specific diseases present in that location. Southwest Care Center has a partner provider dedicated to Travel Medicine that can prescribe and administer all immunizations needed to keep you safe from certain types of diseases on your travels.

To learn more, visit our Travel Medicine page.

Does Medicare Cover Immunizations for Older Adults?

Contact Medicare to find out what’s covered.

Immunization Glossary