The Importance of Adult Immunization

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Most adults, and especially those who have kids, know the importance of getting children properly vaccinated.

But there’s a good chance you also, as an adult, might need some vaccines.

“Adults really aren’t aware of which vaccines that they need. Most people are aware of the influenza vaccine, but when it comes to most of the other vaccines they really are not aware that they need vaccines too just like kids do,” said Dr. Carolyn Bridges, assistant director of adult immunization for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are several reasons adults might need vaccines.

“First, like flu vaccine, you need to get a flu shot every year. Some vaccines you need a booster like tetanus vaccine. That one you should get one every ten years. Another vaccine you may need as an adult is because you missed them as a child or they weren’t offered when you were a child or because you’ve developed some medical condition,” said Dr. Bridges.

But what if you don’t know which vaccines you’ve had?

“There are a couple of different ways, if you are not sure if you’ve had a vaccine and you can’t get your records, talk to your provider and, in general, the rule is you should go ahead and get the vaccine. For some vaccines, you can have a blood test and you can talk with your provider about that and it can tell you if you are already immune or if you already have protection against the virus or bacteria,” said Dr. Bridges.

In the end, vaccine schedules should be individualized – depending on a person’s age and their medical conditions.

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