Vaccines

Time for flu shots — getting one is more important than ever!

Wendy Stead, MD

Contributor

Getting a flu shot is important every year, but this winter there is added urgency due to the COVID-19 pandemic: with both diseases circulating, hospitals may face shortages of beds and equipment –– and it’s possible to have both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

Vaccines for COVID-19 moving closer

Scientists around the world are trying to engineer safe, effective, long-lasting vaccines to help the body block the virus that causes COVID-19. Three vaccine approaches out of more than 100 are among the first to be tested clinically in the United States.

Do adults really need tetanus booster shots?

Sara W. Dong, MD

Contributor
Wendy Stead, MD

Contributor

Can childhood tetanus vaccinations offer sufficient protection during adulthood without regular booster shots? Although a new study posits this, the CDC continues to recommend booster shots every 10 years.

No spleen? What you need to know to stay healthy

Wendy Stead, MD

Contributor

You don’t need your spleen to live a normal, healthy life, but the spleen does play an important role in defending the body against infection, so those without it need to take certain precautions to ensure they remain healthy.

Is it safe to see the pediatrician for vaccines and medical visits?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Concerned about pediatric visits right now? Is it okay to wait on a child’s vaccinations or better to stick to the schedule? What about appointments for other routine matters? What is serious enough to justify the risk?

Why follow a vaccine schedule?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

New research suggests just 63% of families follow the recommended childhood vaccination schedule. Altering the schedule by skipping vaccines or spreading them out may putting children at risk, as well as others in the community.

What can you do to reduce the risk of birth defects?

Huma Farid, MD

Contributor

Women who are hoping to become pregnant want to do everything they can to ensure that their babies will be as healthy as possible, which means following recommendations to minimize the possibility of birth defects.

Vaccines for women: Before conception, during pregnancy, and after a birth

Thinking about becoming pregnant? Already pregnant? It helps to be aware of which vaccines to consider getting, and the timing for these. Some vaccinations for women also help protect newborns.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: When marketing puts your health at risk

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Can health marketing be harmful? Watch out for health ads that make misleading or even dangerous claims that an unproven product or treatment is better than a proven one.

How to help your baby through shots and blood tests

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Vaccinations and blood draws for testing are painful moments for babies. But there are things parents can do to help their baby get through these procedures more easily.