Wilton health experts on vaccinations for all ages
A widespread measles outbreak earlier this year put the focus on vaccinations for children. And with flu season at our door, adults are being encouraged to roll up their sleeves and become immunized.
With all that in mind, Wilton Library and Western Connecticut Health Network will present Vaccinations for Adults and Children as the next topic in their Health Literacy Series. The program will be presented Monday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m., at the library, 137 Old Ridgefield Road.
The featured speakers are Dr. Jasmina Krstic, an internist with Wilton Primary and Specialty Care, and Heidi Steller, patient care director of Maternal/Child Health at Norwalk Hospital and Connecticut’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Stellar will discuss the pediatric side of vaccinations while Krstic will discuss the importance of immunizations for adults. Following their presentations, there will be a question-and-answer session moderated by Dr. Saras Nair, former chairman of the Department of Pathology at Norwalk Hospital, and a trustee of Wilton Library.
When asked if she sees an issue with immunizations in this area, Krstic said yes, “even for the seasonal flu shots and that’s why, in general, it’s an issue.”
“With all the issues around MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) and the new active infections in New York and I think also Connecticut, we have to make sure patients are well-informed and make the best decisions for themselves,” she said.
When it comes to shots like the shingles vaccine, people can be confused. “It’s not only for the elderly,” she said, “we give it to patients over 50. They want more information [in general] and on side effects.”
At one time the shingles vaccine was a single dose, but now there is a type that is given in two doses, and that can be confusing to patients, she said.
There are also two types of pneumonia shots, Krstic said. Which one a person should receive depends on his or her age and if he or she has any medical problems such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes.
Tetanus, a shot that many people can’t remember the last time they had, should be given every 10 years, she said. The vaccine protects against a bacterial toxin that affects the nervous system and can be life-threatening. The bacteria live in soil, saliva, dust, and manure and generally enter the body through a deep cut or burn.
Krstic will also talk about hepatitis A and B. What she will not have time to talk about is vaccinations needed for foreign travel, but travelers can check the CDC website at cdc.gov.
While measles may be of more immediate concern in children, Krstic said some adults may need a booster shot, particularly if they were born in 1957 or later. If people are unsure of their immunity level, they can have an antibody titer done through a blood test. People born before 1957 are considered immune to measles.
Krstic is a graduate of the University of Nis Medical School in Serbia, and completed her medical training at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She recently joined Western Connecticut Medical Group after practicing in New York the last five years. She was an attending physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, and an internist/primary care physician in the outpatient clinic.
Steller was recently honored with Connecticut’s 2019 Centers for Disease Control Childhood Immunization Champion Award. A perinatal nurse at Norwalk Hospital, her research on the hepatitis B vaccine led to a policy that ensures all babies born at the hospital receive a dose of the vaccine within 12 hours of birth. Infants infected with hepatitis B have a 90 percent chance of developing a lifelong, chronic infection, and one in four people with chronic hepatitis B develop serious health problems such as liver damage, liver disease, and liver cancer.
To register for this free program, visit wiltonlibrary.org or call 203-762-6334.