Our new medical director keeps referring to VPD’s when we bring up vaccines. I don’t feel comfortable asking too much, so can you help clear up what he’s referring to?

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology describes vaccine preventable diseases (VPD) as “diseases that are mostly avoidable by immunization.”

Common VPD include: diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), hepatitis A and B, human papillomavirus (HPV), influenza, measles, meningococcal infections, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumococcal Infections, polio, rotavirus, rubella, tetanus and varicella (chickenpox).

As APIC notes, vaccination is needed to protect us as individuals, family members, neighbors, classmates and our communities. It also protects future generations by stopping the spread of disease.

Although vaccines have reduced harmful infectious diseases, the germs that cause VPD still exist and can be spread to people who are not protected by vaccines.

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases lists 10 reasons to be vaccinated. To see the entire list and more information about vaccines, please visit http://www.nfid.org/about-vaccines/reasons, or https://apic.org/ or the www.CDC.gov for some wonderful free information about vaccines, special high-dose vaccines for the elderly, and information on vaccines for staff and children too.

Also, I am sure your new medical director would love to answer your questions. I encourage you to approach this person after a meeting to clarify any questionable points.

The more you become familiar with one other, the more comfortable your working relationship will be. That is extremely important!

Please send your resident care-related questions to Sherrie Dornberger at ltcnews@mcknights.com.