Contra Costa County: Keeping vaccinations current protects us all

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Aug. 28, 2023) — Earlier this year, I encouraged all of us to prepare our homes and property for fire season to help protect ourselves and our community. Another way we can protect ourselves and our community is to stay up to date on vaccines.

Vaccines can be administered at different points in life. As children and parents are preparing for the school year, it’s a great time to make sure everyone is up to date and fully protected. Contra Costa Health recommends vaccines including measles, tetanus, hepatitis and polio.

Older community members who had chickenpox when they were younger can be at greater risk of getting shingles, which can be incredibly painful. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 50 and older get the shingles vaccine to help prevent shingles or reduce its severity.

There are seasonal viruses that you can get vaccinated for annually, like the flu vaccine. The flu virus can change over time so last season’s vaccine may not protect from this year’s flu season. November through March is when the flu virus is most likely to spread in this area, so it’s important to get vaccinated before then. An updated version of the flu vaccine is made each year and usually becomes available around September and October.

Latest COVID vaccine on the way

Along with the updated flu vaccine, an updated booster shot for the latest COVID-19 variant is expected to become available soon. Even though the pandemic has ended, the virus continues to circulate and change.

A vaccine cannot prevent every single person from getting infected, but vaccination helps prevent potentially harmful diseases from causing hospitalizations or even death. They can also prevent children from missing important days at school and adults from missing work.

For more information about what vaccines are recommended for you or your loved ones, Contra Costa Health provides a vaccine information page at This page includes places to get vaccines, school and child-care vaccine guidance, and even vaccine travel information.

Whether you’re preparing to return to school or embark on a vacation, it’s always a good idea to be up to date with vaccines. Let’s work together to make everyone safer and healthier.

Ken Carlson is Contra Costa County District IV supervisor. Email questions or comments to Carlson at or call his office at 925-655-2350.