Every year, tens of thousands of adults in the United States suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, or even die from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccination.
To celebrate the importance of immunizations throughout life – and to help remind adults that they need vaccines, too – the My Doc Medical Clinic is recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month. This is the perfect opportunity to make sure adults are protected against diseases like flu, whooping cough, tetanus, shingles and pneumococcal disease.
The specific vaccines adults need are determined by factors such as age, lifestyle, risk conditions, locations of travel, and previous vaccines. All adults should talk to their health care professionals to make sure they are up-to-date on vaccines recommended for them.
“There is a misconception among many adults that vaccines are just for children,” said Dr. Osman Farooq of My Doc. “The truth is, you never outgrow the need for immunizations.”
All adults should get vaccines to protect their health. Even healthy adults can become seriously ill, and can pass certain illnesses on to others. Everyone should have their vaccination needs assessed at their doctor’s office, pharmacy or other visits with healthcare providers. Certain vaccines are recommended based on a person’s age, occupation or health conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes or heart disease.
Vaccination is important because it not only protects the person receiving the vaccine, but also helps prevent the spread of disease, especially to those that are most vulnerable to serious complications such as infants and young children, elderly, and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems.
All adults, including pregnant women, should get the influenza (flu) vaccine each year to protect against seasonal flu. Every adult should have one dose of Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis or whooping cough) if they did not get Tdap as a teen, and then get the Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster vaccine every 10 years. In addition, pregnant women are recommended to get the Tdap vaccine each time they are pregnant, preferably at 27 through 36 weeks.
Adults 60 year and older are recommended to receive the shingles vaccine. And adults 65 and older are recommended to receive one or more pneumococcal vaccines. Some adults younger than 65 years with certain high risk conditions are also recommended to receive one or more pneumococcal vaccinations.
Adults may need other vaccines – such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B and HPV – depending on their age, occupation, travel, medical conditions, vaccinations they have already received or other considerations.