The Vaccines you Need to Consider Seriously Receiving – Now.

Hurricane Ian devastated SW Florida, and our hearts go out to all those who suffered! Although we were more fortunate than many, many residents, especially those living in West Broadway Estero, are still coming to terms with the considerable damage they have encountered.

Regarding the question “to be or not to be -vaccinated?” the decision about whether you wish to receive a specific vaccine is personal. It requires a discussion between you and your healthcare provider.

Most, if not all, healthcare providers would agree that you should seriously consider the following vaccination options if you haven’t done so already. However, it is recommended that patients first ask their healthcare providers about the appropriateness of a specific vaccine.

tetanus vaccines


With so much loose hurricane debris still around in Lee County, what might appear to be an innocent laceration or puncture wound can introduce tetanus spores which subsequently transform into bacteria and produce a non-treatable fatal toxin!

While almost all of us have been initially vaccinated in the past, a booster is required every ten years for continuous protection. If you haven’t received one in the last ten years, you should seriously consider having a booster shot.


Pneumococcal Pneumonia

There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines available in the United States:

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV13, PCV15, and PCV20)
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23)

The CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for adults 19 through 64 with certain chronic medical conditions or other risk factors.

The CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for all adults 65 years or older.


For adults 65 years or older who have not previously received any pneumococcal vaccine, CDC recommends you give one dose of PCV15 or PCV20. The PCV 20 (Prevnar 20) is a relatively new conjugate booster with expanded coverage that is recommended for use by most physicians.

You should request Prevnar 20 (available since June 2021), which is effective against 20 strains. It helps protect against more strains of the bacteria that cause pneumococcal pneumonia than any other pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. If you have this vaccine and have NOT received the PPSV23, you only need to have that vaccine. For those who already had only the PPSV23 vaccine, you should have Prevnar 20 one year or more later. If you are unsure, please consult your physician.

Influenza (Flu)

While the efficacy of this vaccine is contingent upon the strain(s) that come our way, it’s still beneficial in mitigating the likelihood of severe symptoms resulting from the flu. The manufacturers do their best to anticipate the viral strains most likely to result in influenza in the months ahead. Thus, annual vaccination, especially for the frail and elderly, is highly recommended.

Vaccination in the current 2022/23 season is likely even more critical because of the general absence of these viral strains since 2019, while people have been wearing masks against COVID. The hiatus during the last three years can make individuals more susceptible to the current flu virus.



Unfortunately, COVID has not been eradicated! In the past week, 301 have died in the U.S. (and some states have stopped reporting altogether).

By now, you know the do’s and don’ts. The latest modified booster from both Pfizer and Moderna are highly recommended.

shingles vaccine


This updated vaccine is highly effective in preventing shingles. The shingles virus is related to the chickenpox virus, which has infected most of us during our lifetime and stays in our bodies forever, even if we never become symptomatic. If you develop shingles, it can be extremely debilitating. It causes a painful rash that may appear as a stripe of blisters on the body’s trunk. Pain can persist even after the rash is gone (this is called postherpetic neuralgia). Shingles in or around an eye (ophthalmic shingles) can cause painful eye infections that may result in vision loss. The virus may cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), facial paralysis, or problems with hearing or balance.

Two doses of Shingrix provide strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the most common complication of shingles. In adults 50 to 69 years old with healthy immune systems, Shingrix was 97% effective in preventing shingles; in adults 70 and older, Shingrix was 91% effective.

Health Council

Prepared by Dr. Robert P. Belin, M.D. ECCL Health Council and Chairman, Breckenridge Health and Wellness