When you talk about immunization, most people think it’s for children only. However, many physicians will tell you that adult vaccination is the most ignored part of healthcare services.
Vaccinations are readily available for such common adult illnesses as influenza (flu), pneumococcal disease, herpes zoster (shingles), human papillomavirus (HPV), pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
Vaccinations against less common diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria and varicella (chickenpox) are also needed by some adults.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations clearly identify people who are at risk for these diseases and who should be immunized to prevent these diseases and their complications. Consult your healthcare provider or local health department regarding your own immunization status as well as current immunization recommendations.
- All adults require tetanus and diphtheria (Td) immunizations at 10 year intervals throughout their lives.
- Women 26 years of age or younger should be immunized against human papillomavirus (HPV).
- All adults 65 years of age or older, as well as persons 2 to 64 years of age who have diabetes or chronic heart, lung, liver or kidney disorders need protection against pneumococcal disease, and should consult their healthcare providers regarding this vaccine.
- Influenza vaccination is recommended for all adults 50 years of age or older, women who will be pregnant during influenza season, and residents of long-term care facilities, as well as for all children 6 months through 18 years of age, and persons who have certain chronic medical conditions.
- Other individuals who should seek annual influenza immunization include healthcare workers and those who live with or provide care for high-risk persons, including those who live with or who provide care for infants younger than 6 months of age.
- Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for adults in certain high-risk groups, such as healthcare workers and public safety workers exposed to blood on the job, household and sex contacts of persons with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, sexually active people who are not in long-term, mutually monogamous relationships, people seeking evaluation or treatment for sexually-transmitted disease (STD), men who have sex with men, injection drug users, travelers to countries where HBV infection is common, people with end-stage renal disease and HIV-infected persons. Hepatitis B vaccine is also recommended for anyone seeking protection from HBV infection.
Recommended adult immunization schedule, by vaccine and age group
This world immunization week, lets close the immunization gap and get ourselves and our kids immunized against these preventable diseases.
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