You are not a kid anymore. That means you don’t have to worry about getting vaccinated anymore, right? Wrong.
Every year, millions of adults across the world get hospitalised due to diseases that can be avoided using vaccines.
Proper vaccination can help you prevent vaccine-preventable diseases and stay healthy. You’re never too old to get vaccines. Sticking to an immunization schedule as you age gives you the best shot at long-term good health. This also helps to protect your family and society.
Due to Community immunity, vaccines prevent the spread of diseases to people who cannot get certain vaccines, such as new-born babies.
If you are unaware of your immunization status, consult your doctor. Meantime, in this article, we shall have a look at some of the vaccines you want to make sure you’re up to date on.
I have been vaccinated in my childhood. Why do I need to get it now?
Getting vaccinated as an adult is critical, because:
1. You are at higher risk for illnesses due to your travel, job or health issues.
2. Vaccine shield from childhood gets wears off over time. Hence, you require extra doses of certain vaccines to remain safe.
3. Certain vaccines are only meant for adults, as they are more immune to certain diseases.
4. Some viruses, like the virus that leads to the flu, can change over time.
5. You may not have received shots of the vaccines that were not available in your childhood.
Factors that affect Vaccine recommendations
Vaccines are recommended on the basis of age, health, lifestyle, occupation, travel plans, and prior vaccinations.
How to get your Vaccination records?
Vaccination records refer to the history of all the vaccines you had received till the present.
To find out which vaccinations you’ve had, you’ll need to find your vaccination record. Your vaccination record is the history of all the vaccines you’ve had as a child and as an adult. To find your vaccination record:
1. Ask your parents if they have your vaccination record.
2. Contact your previous doctors and ask for your record.
3. Get in touch with your state health department as some contain registries that can offer information about your vaccination records
If you can’t get your records, your doctor can recommend blood tests to figure out if you are immune to certain vaccine-preventable diseases. You might need to receive some vaccines again.
Vaccines for Adults
Here are some of the vaccines that, as an adult, you need to remain up to date on.
1. Pneumococcal Vaccine: Infection caused due to Pneumococcal bacteria can result in meningitis, pneumonia, blood infections, and even death. There are two of these vaccines. PCV13 (called pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) and PPSV23 (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine).
If you are a fit adult over 65, you require both vaccines. The timing and sequence of them are based on the kind of vaccine you have before.
If you are above 19 years old, then you should get a shot if you have:
1. Chronic illness
2. Cochlear implant
3. Sickle cell disease
4. Transplanted organ
5. HIV or another illness that impacts your immune system
2. Flu Vaccine: Your risk of having flu can be significantly reduced if you take a flu vaccine. Whether you are young, old or in between, should receive a flu shot.
Especially people who have long-term health problems, people over 65 and pregnant women.
However, if you had a fatal allergic reaction to the flu vaccine, are allergic to eggs, or suffer from Guillain-Barre syndrome, discuss with your doctor whether you should get shot.
3. Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Td, Tdap) Vaccine: Getting just a single shot of Tdap can protect you against protects against Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis. Whereas one shot of Td secures you from tetanus and diphtheria.
A one-time Tdap vaccination is sufficient, which must be followed by a Td booster every 10 years.
Pregnant women also receive the Tdap vaccine, favourably between weeks 27 and 36 of each pregnancy.
At last, if you hadn’t received a tetanus shot in the past 10 years and has already gotten a Tdap shot should get a Td vaccine.
4. Hepatitis A & B Vaccine: Hepatitis A & Hepatitis B are the two viruses that infect your liver. The vaccine against these viruses can protect you for at least 25 years.
You are most at risk for Hepatitis A & B if you have a clotting factor disorder like haemophilia, have been in close contact with someone with Hepatitis A, or had suffered from chronic liver disease.
The Hepatitis A vaccine is available in two doses, 6 months apart. Whereas, Hepatitis B requires 3 doses.
5. HPV (Human papillomavirus) Vaccine: (HPV) virus is responsible for causing cervical cancer in women and genital warts in both men and women. The virus is transmitted through sexual contact.
The HPV vaccine effectively prevents infection. Although HPV vaccination is most effective during childhood or adolescence, adults can also benefit from the HPV vaccine.
6. Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine: This vaccine is made of live viruses. Hence, if your immune system is weak because of a disease or any medical treatment, you shouldn’t get a dose of this vaccine.
Adults who aren’t pregnant or had never suffered from chickenpox before, or aren’t immune to the virus should get the vaccine. It should be received in two doses 4-8 weeks apart.
7. MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) Vaccine: This vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella that are highly contagious. If you never had measles or were born after 1957, then consult your doctor regarding getting the shot.
Moreover, if you’re pregnant, have AIDS or HIV, are on medication for cancer, have a blood disorder, then avoid getting a shot.
8. Shingles (Zoster) Vaccine: The real name is herpes zoster virus. The vaccine is found to be effective against this virus, and also protects against postherpetic neuralgia (a complication that causes burning sensation and after the Shingles symptoms fade away).
Adults over 60 years should definitely get this vaccine. You should even get it if you had suffered from chickenpox, as it comes from the same virus as shingles.
Whereas, if you are allergic to gelatin or antibiotic neomycin, you are pregnant, or have a weakened immune system due to a disease or medications, then don’t take the vaccine.
To stay up to date with your vaccines, consult your doctor for an immunization record form. Bring it with you on all your doctor visits and request him/her to sign the form for each vaccine you get.
At Neotia, our team of experts can help you build a list of vaccines you may require based on your health conditions, age, and other factors. Book your appointment here.
Though all attempts are made to provide correct information on the subject, inadvertent & typographical errors arising out of manual intervention cannot be ruled out. It is requested to bring any such discrepancies to the notice of the blogger for correction.