Most people agree that vaccines protect us from disease. Many people also believe that adequate immunization is achieved by receiving the common childhood vaccines. Some others may think about vaccines again during flu season. Vanguard Medical Group at Montville advises patients that it’s important to stay abreast of the latest vaccine news for protection at every age, and is offering a free vaccine family checklist to help local residents stay healthy.

Dr. Frank Iannetta, family physician and board member with Vanguard Medical Group, offers the following information regarding four vaccines that patients frequently ask about.

Four vaccines to know about today:

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1. MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS: Grade schools now require that 11-year-old (sixth-grade) students be vaccinated against meningitis. Yet some students currently approaching college age may not have been vaccinated. We strongly recommend that students in this age group get the meningococcal meningitis vaccine, especially if they are or will be living on campus. Meningitis spreads in situations where people are at close quarters and in stressful environments. Though not a common illness, contracting meningitis can be devastating.

2. ZOSTER (SHINGLES): Herpes zoster, more commonly referred to as shingles, is an excruciatingly painful blistering skin rash caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. Although the zoster vaccine decreases incidence only by 50 percent, it is the best available prevention. It is recommended that adults over 50 get vaccinated and is strongly recommended for those over 65. Shingles is severely painful, so any reduction in incidence is considered to be worthwhile.

3. PNEUMOVAX and PREVNAR: Pneumovax is a vaccine that protects against pneumococcal disease in patients 50 years of age and older, and is strongly recommended for patients over 65. It protects against 23 pneumococcal variants. Infants are given the Prevnar vaccine, a slightly modified version, which protects against the seven most invasive strains of pneumococcal bacteria. Pneumococcal infection is the most dangerous form of pneumonia, with both the elderly and the very young especially at risk of getting seriously ill and dying from this disease.

4. HEPATITIS A: Though not as damaging as hepatitis B or C, hepatitis A will cause fatigue, nausea, vomiting and fever. Rates of hepatitis A in the U.S. are the lowest they’ve been in 40 years, but if you’re planning on traveling to a country that has high or intermediate hepatitis A transmittance, you should consider getting vaccinated before departure.

Dr. Iannetta recommends that all individuals, parents and caregivers make sure that vaccines are up to date. Email to request a free Vanguard Vaccine Reminder Checklist to help keep the entire family on schedule. This checklist is available for patients and non-patients, and may be requested by providing a first and last name, hometown, and valid email address. A PDF checklist will be emailed to the requesting party.

Vanguard Medical Group offers most available vaccines approved in America for children, adults, seniors, prenatal patients and patients with chronic disease, as well as for those traveling abroad.

Frank Iannetta, M.D., F.A.A.F.P., is a family physician and cofounder of Vanguard Medical Group at Montville. He is the recent past chairman of the Department of Family Practice at Saint Clare’s Hospital. He is a frequent media guest regarding children’s health and a recognized leader in the Boy Scouts for Morris County. He is a graduate of Rutgers University and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He completed his training in family practice as chief resident of the Mountainside Hospital residency program.

About Vanguard Medical Group

Vanguard Medical Group, P.A., is a regional primary care practice serving area communities from five sites:

  • 123 N. Union Ave., Suite 204, Cranford, NJ 07016, Phone: 908-272-7990;
  • 170 Changebridge Road, Suite C-3, Montville, NJ 07045, Phone: 973-575-5540;
  • 535 High Mountain Road, North Haledon, N.J. 07508, Phone: 973-636-9000;
  • 19 Yawpo Avenue, Oakland, N.J. 07436, Phone: 201-337-3412
  • 271 Grove Ave., Suite A, Verona, NJ 07044, Phone: 973-239-2600.

The goal of Vanguard Medical Group is to transform health care through collaboration by enhancing the patient experience, measurably advancing quality and improving the affordability of health care. Hospital affiliations include Chilton Medical Center, Morristown Medical Center, Mountainside/UHMC Hospital, Overlook Medical Center, Saint Clare’s Hospital, Saint Barnabas Medical Center, St. Joseph’s Paterson, and St. Joseph’s Wayne. Website: