Disease prevention plays a major role in public health. Prevention is certainly better than cure and receiving immunization can help protect individuals who receive the vaccine as well as those around them. Vaccination is considered essential especially in children as it helps protect them from different infectious diseases like measles, rubella or German measles, tetanus, chicken pox, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, and mumps.
While the value of vaccines in children is recognized globally, vaccination in adults is more commonly overlooked. Many adults are not aware of how vaccines work and do not realize that the benefits of getting vaccines for different infectious diseases does not stop in childhood. Vaccination only protects the body against the effect of the disease and does not mean that the virus or bacteria causing the disease has ceased to exist. Proper protection throughout one’s lifetime by means of vaccination is one of the best ways to limit illness, deaths, and outbreaks from different diseases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) actually promotes immunization not only during childhood but throughout adulthood as well. Not having vaccines for different diseases increases one’s vulnerability to illness and this can cause health problems, disability, and can even lead to death. Not only are vaccines effective and safe but these can also help you avoid the financial burden associated with illness.
There are several vaccines that adults need to get to receive proper protection from diseases. Some of the vaccines for adults are not recommended for everyone but some are considered essential. Below are the vaccines available for adult immunization.
Tetanus and Diphtheria Booster(Td)
Vaccine for tetanus and diphtheria is commonly given during childhood but it is important to get a booster vaccine every 10 years throughout one’s lifetime to get continuous protection. Tetanus is an infection that affects the nervous system while diphtheria affects the respiratory tract. One of the booster shots should be Tdap which provides protection against pertussis or whooping cough.
Yearly vaccination for flu is recommended for all adults. According to CDC, one should get vaccination against influenza once the vaccine becomes available within the community. This is because flu seasons tend to occur randomly and it takes two weeks after immunization before the body is fully protected from influenza virus.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
It is recommended to get hepatitis B vaccine for adults who are a) 19-59 years of age with diabetes, b) sexually active with multiple or same sex partners, c) have a sex partner with hepatitis B, d) being treated for a sexually transmitted disease, and e) have close contact with someone infected with hepatitis B. It is also important to get hepatitis B vaccines for healthcare workers, travelers, and those with end-stage kidney disease.
Adults who have not had chickenpox or have not received immunization before are recommended to have chickenpox vaccination.
Adults born after 1956 and have no evidence of immunity from all three diseases (measles, mumps, rubella) need to get vaccination. Evidence of immunity can be a laboratory test result or a document showing diagnosis by a physician.
HPV vaccine is recommended for both men and women. Men younger than 22 years old and women below 27 years of age should get immunization against the human papilloma virus (HPV) which is known to cause different kinds of cancer including cervical, penile, anal, and throat cancer.
Adults beyond 59 years of age should get vaccination against shingles whether or not he or she has already contracted the disease in the past.
Other adult vaccines include hepatitis A vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine, and meningococcal vaccines.
Vaccination is not only important for children but for adults too. Adult immunization ensures personal protection from illness and also gives a degree of protection to the people around you including your children and the elderly. Vaccine-preventable diseases are dangerous, causing thousands of death each year and getting proper immunization can literally mean the difference between life and death.