Why Vaccines for Adults are Important Too

adult woman receiving a vaccine
As part of taking care of your overall health, don’t forget vaccines for adults are important too.

You may think you only need to think about vaccines when your children are young, but adults also need to be vaccinated. Vaccines for adults help against some illnesses or may booster the vaccines they received as children.

Recommended Vaccines for Adults

With an increase in diseases like measles and whooping cough (pertussis), it’s time to take a closer look at suggested vaccinations. Here are the most common vaccinations recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Flu

The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot every year. An annual flu shot lowers your chances of getting the flu and makes it less likely you’ll get your family, friends or co-workers sick. But only about 43% of Americans follow this recommendation.

MMR

Recent measles outbreaks are making it increasingly clear why we need to stay up-to-date on vaccines. Children should get two doses of the MMR vaccine – the first at 12-15 months old and the second at age 4-6. Adults who do not have evidence of immunity should also be vaccinated. If you were born before 1967, ask your doctor even if you received an MMR vaccine as a child.

Tdap

Children should receive this vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough), at age 11-12. You should also get a Td booster every 10 years as an adult.

HPV

This protects against human papillomavirus, which can cause some cancers. Both males and females should receive this vaccine.

  • The CDC recommends two doses if the person is ages 11-14
  • Three doses if the person is ages 15-26

New recommendations suggest that adults ages 27-45 should talk to their doctors about whether they too should get the HPV vaccine if they were not previously vaccinated

Meningitis

Children should be vaccinated with the meningococcal conjugate vaccine at ages 11-12 with a booster at age 16. Teens and young adults may also be given a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine to protect against meningitis B.

Planning a Trip?

Are you planning an international trip within the next couple of months? Check out the Traveler’s Clinic information to make sure you have the vaccines needed.

Shingles

Adults age over 50 are encouraged to get vaccinated to protect against this painful disease that may affect people who previously had chickenpox.

Pneumonia

The pneumococcal vaccine is available for adults over age 65 or those with certain chronic medical conditions.

Changes to vaccine recommendations occur fairly often. Speak with your doctor about which vaccinations are right for you. Discuss when you should receive them and if you have any chronic health conditions. Additional vaccines may also be needed if you are planning to travel internationally.

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