With the recent measles outbreak, there’s been talk whether vaccines should be mandatory for children. It’s vital children get vaccinated, and you can find a schedule here. Somewhat lost in the discussion is that adults require certain vaccines as well.
Which vaccines you need depends upon your age and your health conditions. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all adults should get an annual flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is especially important for people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, and older adults. The effectiveness of the flu shot varies from year to year, but the CDC estimates it can reduce the risk of contracting a serious case of the flu by 40% to 60%. Considering that in recent years, as many as 56,000 deaths by flu have been reported, it’s definitely a shot worth getting.
The CDC also recommends that all adults should get the Tdap vaccine if they didn’t receive it in their teens, to protect against whooping cough, and women should get it each time they are pregnant. It is also recommended adults get a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster every 10 years.
The HPV vaccine, which protects against human papillomaviruses, is recommended for those who have not received it. The CDC recommends it for women up to age 26, men up to age 21, men between 21 and 26 if they have sex with men, and young adults with weakened immune systems.
Schools and jobs may require specific vaccinations; specifically, many colleges require that students receive a meningitis vaccine.
Age 50 and up
One in three Americans will develop shingles at some point in their lifetime, but the vaccine can drastically reduce the likelihood. The Shingrix vaccine, approved in 2017, is more than 90% effective at preventing this painful condition.
Pneumococcal vaccines are also important for older adults. Recommended for adults over age 65, they protect against infections in the lungs and bloodstream.
There are other vaccinations recommended for specific groups, such as:
- Pregnant women
- People with specific health conditions
- Health care workers
- International travelers
- Immigrants and refugees
To find out more about which vaccinations you need, consult with your doctor.
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