Repairing the plumbing, painting the walls or trimming the lawn – each requires the necessary tools to successfully finish the job. These types of home improvement projects help to maintain the safety and beauty of your house. Similarly, parents and kids need a balanced diet, exercise, sleep, vaccinations and socialization to improve their family’s physical and mental health.
“My goal is to give them the necessary tools they need to improve their family’s overall lifestyle,” said Kern Brar, MD, a board-certified internist at Tri-City Primary Care. “This includes the knowledge, resources and personalized medical care to make informed decisions.”
“One of the most important tools is vaccines, which help to fight old and new viruses,” added Dr. Brar. “From babies to adults, everyone needs vaccinations and boosters to stay healthy. To learn more about vaccines and immunizations, I recommend that my patients read scientific, evidence-based content on credible, up-to-date websites, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).”
Most parents are familiar with the immunizations required for infants and toddlers and school-aged children K-12, to prevent diseases such as Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis(DTaP), Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR), Influenza type B (Hib), Pneumococcal Conjugate (PCV13), Rotavirus (RV), Chickenpox (Varicella), Polio (IPV), and Hepatitis A and B. Varicella and DTaP boosters are required before entering 7th grade. Additionally, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, for girls and boys aged 11 or 12 years, protects against the types of HPV that cause most cervical and anal cancers, as well as genital warts. Teens should also get their Meningococcal shots to protect again this bacterial disease that can lead to serious blood infections and meningitis – an infection in the brain and spinal cord that can be debilitating or deadly.
“At Tri-City Primary Care, we provide vaccinations for both kids and adults. Besides the seasonal flu vaccine, parents also need many of the same vaccinations as their children, as well as shingles, at various ages throughout their lives,” said Dr. Brar. “I will meet with them to assess their need for additional vaccinations or boosters based on their health and any existing medical conditions, as well as their lifestyle, occupation and upcoming travel plans.” The CDC offers an Adult Vaccine Assessment Tool and travel immunizations guidelines.
“Vaccinations have become increasingly important as many of the diseases that we thought were eradicated in the US, like polio, are back and there has been a resurgence in Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough,” added Dr. Brar. “Polio and pertussis vaccinations are available for adults. As we are now facing new viruses, like COVID-19 and monkeypox, I’m strongly encouraging my patients to get vaccinated.”
Unfortunately, the number of people not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccination is rising in counties with elevated levels of the disease, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Sixty-two percent of California’s population is unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or has not received boosters. In San Diego County, fewer children (36%) and teens (76%) are getting vaccinated compared to the overall population (83%), as parents are still hesitant and seeking additional information.
“I’m available to help them verify and navigate the ever-evolving information regarding COVID-19,” said Dr. Brar. “The CDC provides the most accurate and current COVID-19 immunization schedule for children and adults on their website.”
Dr. Brar feels, “Great medical care starts at home with healthy habits and wise decisions based on facts. It’s so important for everyone in the family to get vaccinated so that their immune systems have the ammunition to fight existing and emerging viruses. By using all of the tools in their toolkit and working with their doctor, parents can help to limit or avoid illness or hospitalization for family members.”