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When you work at Planned Parenthood, you are a champion for medicine, science and the right of every individual to have access to the best science and the best medicine.
This month is National Immunization Awareness Month, and at Planned Parenthood we take access to vaccines seriously. With the rise of the anti-vaxxer movement and other disinformation campaigns, it’s more important than ever to make sure the people in our communities have the information they need to make proper decisions.
While we don’t offer immunizations at PPPSW locations, many of our sister centers in the Planned Parenthood family do — including ones such as the HPV vaccine, Hepatitis vaccines, and the flu shot.
We are always ready to help provide medical information and we do so on a regular basis. Here are some questions we often run into on the job.
Are vaccines safe?
Sometimes just answering the most basic of questions helps to allay concerns and inspire confidence. We’re frequently asked if vaccines are safe, and we have a simple answer:
Yes! Vaccines are very safe. This has been proven by many research studies over many years. Vaccines don’t give you the sickness they protect against, and vaccines don’t cause autism. Some people have side effects, but they’re generally mild and go away on their own (like redness or swelling where the shot was given). Serious problems, like an allergic reaction, are very rare. If you notice any problems right after getting a vaccine that worry you, ask your doctor or nurse about it.
What vaccines should adults get?
People aren’t always aware that there are vaccines they should get as an adult. We take pride in helping our patients understand the immunizations that are available to adults, and to provide information on what to ask their primary care doctor.
We always recommend asking their nurse or doctor about the best vaccines for their specific needs, but in general, we recommend the following:
- Influenza vaccine (flu shot) — a yearly vaccine that protects against the flu.
- Shingles vaccine — for healthy adults age 50 and older. You need 2 doses, with 2 to 6 months between each shot.
- Pneumococcal vaccine — for all adults over the age of 65. Some adults younger than 65 who have certain health problems may also need this vaccine.
- Tdap vaccine (for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis AKA whooping cough)
- Hepatitis A and B
- HPV vaccine
- Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine
What vaccines does Planned Parenthood offer?
We don’t offer vaccines at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, but we are happy to refer you to one of the many centers in the PPFA that do. Vaccine availability will vary by location, but these are some of the top ones Planned Parenthood provides:
Hepatitis B is spread easily during sex, so getting the vaccine an important protective measure. The vaccine protects the body from the hepatitis B virus by getting the immune system to make antibodies. Those antibodies protect by fighting off the virus if it ever gets into the body.
The HPV vaccine helps protect against certain types of HPV that can lead to cancer or genital warts. Also known by the brand name Gardasil 9, the HPV vaccine protects against:
- HPV types 16 and 18 — the 2 types that cause 80% of cervical cancer cases.
- HPV types 6 and 11, which cause 90% of genital warts cases.
- Another 5 types of HPV (types 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58) that can lead to cancer of the cervix, anus, vulva/vagina, penis, or throat.
The flu shot isn’t just for the very young and very old, in fact, anyone who is healthy enough to get it, should. We work to correct misconceptions about this vaccine and others on a regular basis.
Are you a champion of science? Do you enjoy helping to correct misinformation with facts, providing answers in the face of doubt and options for people who didn’t know they had them?
We’re hiring. And there’s never been a better time to explore a career at Planned Parenthood. Browse our openings and apply here.