Adult vaccines: How to know if you’re protected

If you’re like many adults, your childhood immunization records never made it into your adult life. A primary care provider explains what you can do to determine if you’re protected.

Recent measles outbreaks in parts of the U.S. may have you wondering, “Am I protected?”

Parents are used to keeping track of vaccines for their children, but what about their own immunizations? How can adults, who may not have seen their vaccination records for decades, be sure they’re protected against preventable diseases?

Christina M. Breit, M.D., internal medicine physician with Norton Community Medical Associates – Mallard Creek, explains what adults should do if they are concerned about whether they’re protected against diseases. According to Dr. Breit, here’s what you should know:

What’s the Most Common Vaccine That Adults May Be Missing?

The most common vaccine that we see in our practice that is not up to date is the Tdap. This is a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis booster that should be given every 10 years.

For the Care You Need Now to Stay Protected

Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or visit your nearest Norton Prompt Care at Walgreens location to see which vaccines you may need.

Choose Your Care Option

How Can Adults Find Out If They’re Protected From Certain Diseases, Especially If They Don’t Have Access to Their Immunization Records?

A primary care provider can order titers, which are available for most diseases that vaccines protect against. A titer is a blood test that shows whether your body is immune to a disease. For example, if you had the MMR vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella, a titer blood test will show that you have the antibody for measles, mumps and rubella, and are therefore protected.

Related Content: What age is the MMR vaccine given to fight measles, mumps and rubella?

Since Measles Has Been in the News, There Was Some Concern That Some Adults May Not Be Protected, Even If They Received a Vaccine in the Past. Who Should Be Concerned, and What Do Doctors Recommend They Do?

MMR vaccine has been a hot topic since measles has been seen in our community and around the nation. We have been receiving a lot of questions from our adult population on whether or not this is a vaccine that they need to get; this depends on their vaccination status.

If the patient grew up in Kentucky and went to schools in Kentucky, their vaccination status should be up to date.

If the patient is not sure and would like to be checked for their immune status, this can be done with blood draws in the office for titers.

Is There a Recommended Vaccine Schedule for Adults? If So, Where Can I Find It?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a recommended adult vaccination schedule that includes guidelines for the flu vaccine, Tdap, MMR and others. You can find the adult vaccine schedule here, or ask your primary care provider.

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