Are all your vaccines current?

COVID-19 vaccines aren’t the only ones adults need to stay healthy

We’ve heard a lot about COVID-19 vaccinations in the last two years, but there are other adult vaccines you need, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) encourages all adults to maintain a regular vaccination schedule.

Do adults need vaccinations?

The short answer is yes.

“Vaccines aren’t just for kids,” said Monalisa M. Tailor, M.D., internal medicine physician with Norton Community Medical Associates – Barret. “Childhood immunizations can wear off, and you can be at risk for developing diseases based on your job, lifestyle or travel habits.”

Why should adults get vaccinated?

In general, all adults need regular shots to keep them from getting and spreading the many vaccine-preventable diseases such as influenza (flu) and whooping cough (pertussis).

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“You run the risk of missing work, racking up medical bills or not being well enough to care for your family,” Dr. Tailor said.

What vaccines do adults need?

“It depends on age and health status,” Dr. Tailor said. “The CDC recommends a seasonal flu vaccine, as well as a Tdap [diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis] if the person did not receive one as a child — then tetanus and diphtheria boosters every 10 years.”

Recommended immunizations for adults

  • COVID-19: One two-dose series and booster(s) per CDC guidance. As of publication, the CDC recommends a second booster (fourth injection) for some people.
  • Influenza: annually in late summer or early fall; can help even if flu shot is in early winter
  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis: one dose with a booster (Tdap) every 10 years (If you are pregnant or have been wounded, discuss receiving another dose with your health care provider.)
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): one dose if born before 1957; two doses at least four weeks apart if born after 1957
  • Varicella (chickenpox): two doses at least four weeks apart if born after 1980; two more doses upon turning 65 if you are at risk of infection. Discuss with your provider to determine if you potentially could be exposed.
  • Zoster (shingles) recombinant: two doses two to six months apart after age 50
  • Human papillomavirus: two or three doses spread out over five or six months depending on age of initial vaccination or condition. Discuss with your provider to determine if you should receive another course from up to age 45.
  • Pneumococcal vaccination against the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria: One dose for ages 65 or older. If you got the vaccine before age 65, get a second dose at least five years after the first.
  • Hepatitis A: two-dose series regardless of risk, if desired, after age 19
  • Hepatitis B: two or three doses after age 19 depending on the vaccination you receive
  • Meningococcal A, C, W, Y: one or two doses after age 19 if you are at risk
  • Meningococcal B: Patients ages 19 to 23 should discuss risk level with your provider. If you are 24 or older, two or three doses depending on the vaccination you receive and your risk level.
  • Haemophilus influenza type B: one or three doses after age 19 depending on your risk factors

How much will adult vaccines cost?

Vaccinations are covered by Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), and insurance plans purchased through the health insurance marketplace. Medicare covers vaccinations for the flu, hepatitis B and pneumococcal disease. If you do not have health insurance, the state health department can direct you to low-cost or free vaccination sites. If you have commercial health insurance, check with your provider about the cost.

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