Are you up to date on vaccines?

August is immunization awareness month: Be sure you have all your shots

While August was national immunization awareness month, you should stay up to date on your vaccines year-round. We’ve heard a lot about COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters 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 help everybody,” said Monalisa Tailor, MD, Norton Medical Associates. “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).

“Skipping vaccines means you run the risk of missing work, running up medical bills or not being well enough to care for your family,” Dr. Tailor said.

Following the recommended adult vaccine schedule helps you keep track of which shots you need to have updated and which ones can benefit you as you get older.

Choosing not to vaccinate can have a dramatic impact on you, your family and your community. In the last decade, outbreaks of preventable diseases have risen dramatically.

“As we’ve been experiencing with COVID-19, vaccines work best when everyone does their part,” Dr. Tailor said.

Norton Prompt Care at Walgreens

Vaccinations are available at your primary care provider’s office or at any of 8 Norton Prompt Care at Walgreens clinics. You also may view all your care options and schedule online.

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.”

  • COVID-19: one two-dose series (applies to Pfizer or Moderna brands) and booster(s) per CDC guidance (As of publication, the CDC recommends a second booster (fourth injection) for some people.) The bivalent booster has been available since the beginning of September 2022.
  • Influenza: annually in late summer or early fall; can help even if flu shot is given now until the beginning of next year.
  • 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. Even if you had the chicken pox virus as a child, you need this vaccine.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): 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 up to age 45.It can help protect against cancer.)
  • Pneumococcal vaccination against the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria: one dose for ages 65 or older; or if received before age 65, 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 provider; for 24 or older, two or three doses depending on the vaccination received and your risk level
  • Haemophilus influenza type B (HIB): one or three doses after age 19

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your OB-GYN about what vaccine schedule you should follow.

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