Many adults don’t realize they still need protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. Alamosa Immunization Coalition reminds you that vaccines are not just for kids. Adults still need certain vaccines, both to protect themselves and others.
Vaccines for adults are recommended based on age, lifestyle, occupation, medical conditions, previous vaccination history and locations of travel. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updates vaccine recommendations each year based on the latest information and research on vaccine safety, effectiveness and patterns of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Talk to your medical provider about which of the following adult vaccines you need:
- Flu vaccine
- Flu vaccine is recommended every year for everyone age 6 months and older. Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. Annual vaccination begins in September. It takes about two weeks for flu vaccine to be fully effective. This year’s flu vaccine is quadrivalent, meaning it protects against four strains.
- Tetanus and Tdap vaccine
- Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Every adult over age 19 should have Tdap; then get a Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster every 10 years. The recommendation for Tdap has changed over the last several years, due to the resurgence of pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory illness that can be anywhere from mild to serious; but is life-threatening in newborns and young babies. The amount of pertussis antibodies a person has decreases over time, so that is why it is so important for adults to get Tdap. It is also recommended that pregnant women get Tdap during every pregnancy, preferably in the last trimester, to provide protection for their newborn. Pertussis vaccine is only available in the combination vaccine with tetanus and diphtheria.
- Shingles (Herpes Zoster) Vaccine
- Shingles vaccine is recommended one time for adults age 60 and older. Shingles is a condition that occurs when chickenpox virus reactivates later in life. Pain from shingles lesions, called post-herpetic neuralgia, can be very severe and last a year or more. Although shingles can occur at any age, it is more common in those over 60.
- Pneumococcal Vaccine
- All adults over age 65 should get pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. Anyone age 19 and older who has asthma or smokes cigarettes is at higher risk of developing invasive pneumococcal disease, so should also receive pneumococcal vaccine. Additionally, adults younger than 65 should be vaccinated if they have certain medical conditions such as heart disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes, alcoholism, cirrhosis, cerebrospinal fluid leak, cochlear implant or a suppressed immune system.
- Hepatitis A vaccine
- Hepatitis A virus can be spread person-to-person or by contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended before travel to many parts of the world. Other adults for whom vaccine is recommended are those with clotting disorders, chronic liver disease, those who use illegal drugs and men who have sex with men.
- Hepatitis B vaccine
- Hepatitis B is caused by a virus and is spread from person to person primarily through blood or body fluids. Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for adults at risk of blood exposure, such as health care workers, those who use or have used intravenous drugs, and household contacts of people who are positive for hepatitis B. Vaccination is also recommended for people at high risk of sexual exposure, such as those who have had more than one sex partner in the last six months and men who have sex with men. Many young adults completed the hepatitis B vaccine series during their childhood immunizations and do not have to repeat the series.
Visit CDC’s website on adult vaccination for more information: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/index.html