Gold medalist and soccer superstar Mia Hamm does it all. She’s not only a busy mom but she’s now raising awareness about the importance of adult vaccines in a public health campaign, “Give Your Health A Shot.” We sat down with Hamm and Dr Brad Moore, Fellow of the American College of Physicians and associate professor of medicine and of health policy at The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, to talk about the importance of adult vaccines.
Updates for adult vaccinations
SheKnows: What sparked your interest as an advocate for the importance of adult vaccinations?
Mia Hamm: I was as uneducated as most of us about the importance of adult vaccines. I was unaware that certain vaccinations you get as a child wane, and you need to get either boosters or update your vaccinations as an adult in order to make sure you’re healthy. I always worked out and ate correctly, but vaccinations are an important part of an overall health plan.
Adult deaths related to improper immunization
SheKnows: What are some of the biggest misconceptions about adult vaccinations you want people — especially women — to know?
Dr Moore: Most people think vaccinations are just for children. In fact, adults are more likely to die of vaccine-preventable disease than children. Approximately 50,000 adult deaths each year could have been prevented from proper immunization. The website www.GiveYourHealthaShot.com gives you tools to open up a dialogue with your doctor.
Most important vaccines for women
SheKnows: Which adult vaccinations are most important for women?
Dr Moore: Seasonal flu vaccine is most important for everyone, especially this time of year. When you go to your doctor to get the flu vaccine, take the opportunity to ask your doctor what vaccines may be right for you. For women specifically, the vaccine that protects women against the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer, is important. The pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is also especially important for everyone.
SheKnows: Are some women more at risk than others?
Dr Moore: Everyone is at risk for pertussis and the flu. Women who have had more than one sexual partner in a year should think of getting the hepatitis vaccine, and women who smoke or have asthma should consider getting a pneumonia vaccination.
Key to health for moms: Be proactive
SheKnows: Mia, what are some of your tips for keeping a work/life balance as a busy mom?
Mia Hamm: (Laughs.) It’s about always trying to find that balance. Being part of things like this campaign works because I have a great support system. My husband supports me and family members help when we need a hand with the kids. These things allow me to continue pursuing my passion in trying to make a difference. I want to educate people — especially moms — about the importance of being proactive about their health. This sets a good example for their kids as well.
Mia Hamm on flu vaccinations
Families Fighting Flu PSA with Mia Hamm
This Families Fighting Flu PSA features soccer legend and mom, Mia Hamm who talks about the importance of getting a seasonal flu vaccination this year and every year. The goal of the PSA is to encourage families to get their kids, and themselves, vaccinated against the seasonal flu, which is the single best way to stay healthy.