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How Vaccines Have Improved Over the Years

How Vaccines Have Improved Over the Years

Vaccines have come a long way since the “father of vaccines” Edward Jenner first successfully developed a smallpox vaccine in 1796. It wasn’t until the mid to late 1940s that the smallpox vaccine and a vaccine to prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis were mass-produced. By the late 1960s, vaccines for polio, measles, mumps, and rubella were also developed and distributed. Vaccines have improved over the years as new studies and developments revealed the need for changes.

As happy as people were to finally have protection against some of the world’s most devastating illnesses, many became concerned about the safety of vaccines.

Patients began to express concern about the possible adverse effects of vaccines and some claimed that they or someone they knew had become injured or ill after being inoculated. By the time the 1970s rolled around, demand for better regulation on vaccines surged. Citizens also wanted more understanding and transparency on vaccine safety.

The US’s Response to the Demand for Better Vaccine Safety

The demand for better vaccine safety resulted in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA). The NCVIA established several programs and regulations for physicians and government agencies to protect patients and provide education about vaccines and their safety. Programs and regulations established as a result of the NCVIA include:

  • The founding of the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPC). The NVPC coordinates all vaccine-related activities between Department of Human Services (DHS) agencies, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). 
  • The requirement of physicians and healthcare providers who administer vaccines to provide vaccine information statements with each and every vaccine. This requirement is included for multiple doses of vaccines, which means you should receive one of these statements every time you get an immunization, even if it’s a second or third required dose.
  • The requirement of providers and physicians to report any adverse events occurring in patients following inoculation. This is required even if the provider is unsure that the adverse event and the vaccine administration are related. 
  • The establishment of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which helps patients and their families after having an adverse reaction or event due to a vaccine. 
  • The formation of a committee within the Institute of Medicine that reviews the literature on vaccine reactions. 

Improvements of Vaccines Through the Years

All vaccines, even the oldest vaccines, continued to be studied for safety and efficacy. These continued studies have resulted in changes and improvements to vaccines over the years. The first major change occurred with the introduction of a new, more purified acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP). The DTaP vaccine replaced the original whole pertussis vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. This new version of the vaccine was proven to be more effective in preventing illnesses and had fewer mild and severe side effects. 

Another big change that improved the safety of a vaccine was the changes in when the vaccine is scheduled to be administered. These changes resulted in fewer reported adverse events following inoculation. The first change established a schedule that included sequential administration of an inactivated vaccine and an oral polio vaccine. Later, it was found that the inactivated polio vaccine had better prevention results and fewer side effects. The inactivated polio vaccine is the only type of polio vaccine administered today. 

It’s important to know that all vaccines go through intense research and development phases that include multiple small and large study trials before they are considered for approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Once vaccines are licensed by the FDA, the ACIP must review and establish recommendations on how to use the vaccine for disease control in the United States. 

Vaccines have saved many lives and prevented many severe illnesses since their inception centuries ago. As you can see, approved vaccines must go through a rigorous process before they are ever considered for the open market. Even vaccines against acute illnesses like the flu and covid-19 must go through this process. 

We hope today’s article helps you understand vaccines and the safety of vaccines better. Vaccines are developed for your protection and we want you to feel safe about getting inoculated yourself or having your children vaccinated. Your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider is an excellent source of information regarding vaccines. To learn more about vaccines or to schedule yourself or your children for a vaccine, call us at 662-282-4226.

Who Will Be the First to Receive the Covid-19 Vaccine?

Who Will Be the First to Receive the Covid-19 Vaccine?

As this is being written, the first round of British citizens has received a new COVID-19 vaccine by the Pfizer company. If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the same vaccine could be shipped to the U.S. by mid-December 2020. Another vaccine by the Moderna company is also in line for approval. If all works out, both vaccines will be in use by January. The question is, who gets the first round of vaccines in the United States?

Two elderly people were the first to receive the vaccine in the UK (Britain). The US, however, plans to take a slightly different path with the first rollout of immunizations. Instead, US healthcare workers, who are considered at the highest risk for contracting covid-19, will receive the first round of vaccines along with residents of nursing homes and long-term healthcare facilities. Residents of these facilities have so far accounted for 39% of deaths caused by Covid-19 in the US. 

What We Know About the COVID-19 Vaccines So Far

At this time, both Pfizer and Moderna have vaccines at the ready to be distributed upon authorization by the FDA. When approved, the first doses will be shipped out within 24 hours. Both vaccines will require a second dosage. Pfizer’s vaccine requires a boost three weeks after the first dose. Similarly those who receive the Moderna vaccine will need a second dose after four weeks. 

Who will Decide Who Gets the COVID-19 Vaccine First?

Choosing which healthcare workers will be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is a decision that will be left up to each state. Right now, each state has a designated group of experts deciding who is at the highest risk. Some states may elect to vaccinate critical care nurses and physicians along with respiratory therapists and other workers who risk the most exposure to the virus. Others could decide to vaccinate their oldest healthcare workers first along with those working the frontlines. At this time, Mississippi plans to issue the first round of vaccines to frontline healthcare workers. 

After frontline workers and long-term care residents have been vaccinated, essential workers will be the next to receive the vaccine. Essential workers include but are not limited to employees in law enforcement, emergency response, food and agriculture, transportation, manufacturing, and education. Some states may prioritize certain industries that have been more affected. Arkansas, for example, intends to prioritize poultry workers, who have taken a hard hit during the pandemic. Each state will make these decisions based on its individual needs and demands. 

Adults with medical conditions that place them at a higher risk for serious illness as well as adults over 65 will be the next group to get immunized. Some states may elect to prioritize vaccinating elderly over 75 first. After that, the vaccine will be open to all healthy adults in the US by May or June if all goes accordingly. 

What You Can Do Now to Protect Yourself

By publication of this article, the first rollout of vaccines should be available in the US. However, it will still be months before all of those at risk of the virus can receive the vaccine. That means we must continue to wear masks and socially distance from one another until the vaccine is readily available to all. Continue to avoid large gatherings and be smart when you must go out in public. If you develop symptoms, quarantine yourself from others immediately, and contact your healthcare provider to schedule a testing appointment. 

Mantachie Rural Healthcare is available Monday through Friday. If you are sick and need an appointment with us, dial 662-282-4226. 

Delayed Vaccine Schedule Contributes to Resurgence of Preventable Illnesses

Delayed Vaccine Schedule Contributes to Resurgence of Preventable Illnesses

In 2018, the U.S. began to see a resurgence fo once eradicated illnesses like chicken-pox and measles. These vaccine-preventable diseases cropped up more commonly in areas with fewer immunized children. Parents who choose not to immunize their children may be in the minority, however, another one-third of parents are choosing to delay vaccination. Instead, they are following their own timeline.

A study published in Pediatrics magazine found parents based their decision to delay vaccination on their own research versus their doctor’s recommendations. As a result, the United States is seeing a return of diseases that had once been eradicated in this country. 

Delaying vaccination opens children to preventable diseases when they are most susceptible to the negative impact of those diseases. 

We encourage open communication with our doctor and nurse practitioners about your concerns around the recommended vaccine schedule. Your provider can guide you to additional reputable resources and help you make the best choices to protect your child and your family. We support childhood vaccinations and the recommended schedule, but medicine should always be a two-way conversation. Your concerns are important to us. 

Our clinic offers the full schedule of childhood vaccines for children covered by Medicaid including kindergarten vaccines. Please call us for an appointment for your child’s well-child visit, concerns about your child’s health, and to schedule vaccines.

Study Shows Long Term Health Risks from Measles

girl in tree, measles, vaccines

As the vaccine debate rages among parents, more studies show the effects of measles may last long after a patient recovers. Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children often cite the measles symptoms as one reason vaccinations may not be worth the perceived risks. A new study from the Netherlands suggests patient’s risks continue long after they recover from the initial illness.

Measles begins with a high fever 10-12 days after exposure to the virus. A cough, runny nose, red watery eyes, and white spots in the mouth may accompany the fever. A few days later a rash appears on the face and neck. The rash spreads over the entire body in the next 3 days. The rash lasts 5-6 days.

The new study shows a decreased immunity to other viruses and infections after the measles rash fades. The virus appears to wipe out the immune system’s memory. Illnesses the person had previously built immunity to were no longer recognized. The measles effect made patients even more susceptible to those illnesses and their dangerous complications. While the immune system still works, it must relearn all the viruses it one recognized.

Infants who are not yet old enough for the vaccine, children under age 5, and adults over age 30 are most susceptible to other complications of measles such as ear infections, diarrhea, and dehydration.

Yet another reason to protect our children with the MMR vaccine. If you have questions or concerns about vaccines and your child, schedule a wellness visit with one of our providers to discuss how best to protect your family’s health.

Let’s Talk Infant Immunizations

Infant Immunizations Week

The last week of April we recognize as National Infant Immunizations Week. We’ve heard a lot of discussion about vaccines in the news lately and want to provide you with the most information possible. Vaccinations are designed to protect not only your child from serious diseases but to protect those with compromised immune systems who are unable to receive the vaccine themselves.

You can find a lot of information online, but your child’s medical provider offers the best information on immunizations. Seeing the same physician or nurse practitioner for your child’s wellness exams and illnesses supplies the provider a complete history and understanding of your child’s health. Together you and your child’s health provider can make the best decisions for your child.

What illnesses do childhood vaccines protect against?

The typical course of vaccines covers fourteen illnesses:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Diphtheria
  • Hib Disease (Haemophilus influenzae type b)
  • Pertussis
  • Pneumococcal Disease
  • Polio
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rotavirus
  • Rubella (German Measles)
  • Tetanus
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)

If you’re like most Americans, you’ve never heard of some of these illnesses and have never known anyone who ever experienced many of them. You can thank vaccines for that protection. Want to know more about each of these diseases? Check out this article which describes each disease and potential complications.

Why do my children receive so many vaccines at one time?

Infant immunizations and childhood vaccines are scheduled to be given when a child is most at risk of developing the disease and when a child’s body is most responsive to developing protection after the vaccine is given. Some vaccines must be given in multiple doses spaced at specific intervals to create and maintain full, optimum protection.

What’s the recommended infant immunizations schedule for children?

The CDC provides informative guides for when you should expect your child to receive specific vaccines. You should also receive an updated vaccination record when your child has new vaccines.

Download the CDC’s guide in English

Download the CDC’s guide in Spanish

Where can I have my child vaccinated?

While some pharmacies offer certain vaccines for adults, it’s important to schedule time with your child’s regular medical provider for their vaccines.

Mantachie Rural Health Care, Inc., offers vaccines to children who are covered under Medicaid or private insurance as well as children who do not have insurance. We’re also part of the federally funded Vaccines for Children program which offers vaccines at no cost to children who might not be vaccinated due to an inability to pay.

If your child has received vaccinations at another clinic, we are able to pull those reports from our office which ensures your child receives the correct vaccines in the right order.

Make an appointment for your child’s next vaccines by calling our office at (662) 282-4226.

The Importance of Adult Vaccinations

adult vaccinations

In America today, vaccinations have changed our lives. Not only have they reduced many infectious diseases that once plagued our lives, they have even eliminated some of these viruses and bacterias from our lives. That means much of what harmed or killed infants, children and adults 50 years ago isn’t a threat to us today. But that doesn’t mean they are gone. These viruses and bacterias still exist, and that’s why it’s crucial we stay vaccinated, even as adults.

Vaccines Today

Vaccines go through years of testing before they make it to us. They are routinely tested and monitored by the CDC and the FDA to ensure safety for everyone. And that’s exactly what they are meant to do. Vaccines are one of the safest ways to protect your and your family’s health. While side effects can occur, they are usually mild and disappear after a couple of days. Most commonly, vaccine side effects include soreness, redness or slight swelling at the injection side.

Protecting your loved ones

Vaccines don’t just protect you. They also protect your loved ones, especially infants, small children and elderly adults who have weakened immune systems, from life-threatening illnesses.  In fact, age and health conditions can make certain family members unable to get certain vaccines. This could be an infant who is too young to be vaccinated for whooping cough. They rely on you to help prevent spreading those diseases by being vaccinated yourself.

Protecting yourself

Vaccines are derived to work with your body’s natural defenses. They help your body safely develop immunities to diseases. This process lowers your chances of contracting certain diseases, like cancers and chronic lung disease. In fact, flu vaccines can lower your risk of certain flu-related conditions like heart attacks.

Risk for Serious Disease

It’s simple. Vaccines are created so you can help protect yourself from unnecessary suffering. Thousands of U.S. adults become ill every year from diseases that vaccines can help prevent. With the busy lives of most Americans, you can’t afford to get sick, and vaccines can help prevent just that.

Overall, vaccines are one of the safest ways to protect yourself. Schedule an appointment with us to discuss your and your family’s vaccination options.

Who Needs A Pneumonia Vaccine?

Pneumonia VaccinePneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. Often the inflammation causes the air sacs to fill with fluid making breathing difficult. Viruses, bacteria, or fungi can all cause pneumonia. Symptoms often include:

  • a cough with phlegm or pus
  • fever
  • chills
  • sharp pain in the chest
  • dehydration
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • malaise
  • clammy skin, or sweating

Antibiotics can treat many forms of pneumonia. Some forms of pneumonia can be prevented by vaccines.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) some kinds of pneumonia, not all, can be prevented with vaccines. A pneumonia vaccine does not prevent all cases of pneumonia. Walking pneumonia, for example, currently has no vaccine and is preventable with good hygiene habits. However,the vaccine can lower your chance of catching the disease. It can also decrease the severity of symptoms if you are unfortunate enough to catch the disease.

Who does need the pneumonia vaccine?

Not everybody needs to get a pneumonia vaccine. If you’re a healthy adult between ages 18 and 64, you can skip this vaccine.

People age 65 and over

As we age our immune systems don’t work as well as they once did. That’s why everyone over the age 65 should receive a pneumonia vaccine.

People with weak immune systems

Some illnesses and procedures weaken our immune system and make us susceptible to other diseases. People with the following chronic illnesses are susceptible to pneumonia and need the pneumonia vaccine:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Emphysema
  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • HIV
  • AIDS

The same goes for anyone who has recently had chemotherapy or had an organ transplant.


If you smoked for many years, you’ve done definite damage to your lungs. You may have damaged the little hair like structures called cilia that help your lung filter out germs. If you’re a smoker, you’re susceptible to pneumonia and need to consider the vaccination. Fortunately, quitting smoking can actually help you prevent pneumonia.

Heavy drinkers

If you drink every day, you might notice that you are sick with more colds, flus or other illnesses than people who don’t drink. Alcohol can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to infections. If you drink often, you need to consider a pneumonia vaccine.

People getting over surgery or recovering from a severe illness

If you have been in the ICU (intensive care unit) and needed a ventilator to help you breathe, you are at risk of pneumonia. The same goes for those healing from surgery or serious injury.

Is there a pneumonia season?

Contrary to popular belief, pneumonia doesn’t have a season. Not in the same way we have flu season anyway. If your medical care professional suggests a pneumonia vaccine, you can get them anytime of the year.

Now that we’ve mentioned the flu…flu often becomes pneumonia. In fact, about one-third of all pneumonia cases in this country are caused by respiratory viruses, most commonly influenza.

If it’s flu season, you can even get a pneumonia vaccine at the same time that you get a flu vaccine, as long as you receive each shot in a different arm.

If you are in need of a flu vaccine or a pneumonia vaccine, give us at call at 662-282-4226. We’d be happy to make you an appointment.

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