There is a myth that adults are fully protected by the vaccinations they receive in childhood. The truth, however, is that this protection wears off over time. This leaves adults, especially those who did not originally receive vaccinations, vulnerable. This is why our team at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has compiled a list below of the vaccinations you need to be aware of as an adult.
What Vaccinations Should All Adults Receive?
Every adult should get a Tdap vaccine if they did not receive it as a child to protect against whooping cough. Tdap stands for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
Note: If you’re unsure if you received a Tdap shot as a child, receiving the vaccine again will not cause any harm.
- Adults should get a Tdap booster every 10 years.
- In addition, women should get the Tdap vaccine every time they are pregnant to pass on protective antibodies to their baby.
Each year, adults should receive a seasonal flu vaccine. It is critically important for people with chronic conditions, pregnant women and older adults.
- It’s also perfectly acceptable to get the flu vaccine when you receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Every adult should talk to their doctor about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine or booster. The vaccines are proven to be incredibly effective at reducing your risk of death and hospitalization from the virus.
- In very rare cases, the COVID-19 shot may not be recommended for some people. It’s best to discuss this with your provider.
Some adults may need additional vaccines because of job or school-related requirements, health conditions or other factors.
- For example, in some states, college students need to be vaccinated against diseases like meningitis. This is due to the risk among college students living in residential housing.
Talk with your doctor about which vaccines are appropriate for you.
Vaccinations for Adults 19-26 Years Old
In addition to the flu and TDAP vaccines, adults between 19 and 26 years old are recommended to get the HPV vaccine if they didn’t receive it as a child. Children as young as 9 years old can begin receiving the shots. It protects against the type of human papillomaviruses (HPV) that cause cervical, anal, and other cancers and genital warts.
- Doctors may recommend the shots for some adults between 27 and 45 years old. This is typically for people at risk for new HPV infections who may benefit from the vaccine.
Vaccinations for Adults 19-59 Years Old
Hepatitis B vaccine
The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all adults between 19 and 59 years old. Hepatitis B can cause serious health problems like liver damage, liver cancer and, in some cases, death.
Vaccinations for Adults 50+ Years Old
Healthy adults should consider getting a shingles vaccine once they turn 50 years old. Nearly one in three people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime – the risk of developing shingles increases as people grow older.
The same virus that caused chickenpox also causes shingles. After having chickenpox as a child, the virus remains inactive and can reactivate later in life as shingles.
Shingles is not life-threatening, but the rash can be very painful.
Vaccinations for Adults 65+
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
It’s recommended that adults who are at least 65 years old receive the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine if they have never received it before. Pneumococcal infections can range from ear and sinus infections to pneumonia and bloodstream infections.
Vaccinations for Special Cases
In certain circumstances, doctors may recommend additional vaccines for patients with health conditions like diabetes, weakened immune system and heart disease. You may need additional vaccines based on your travel habits, job and lifestyle. It’s best to ask your provider what vaccines are appropriate for you.
Are you up to date with your vaccinations? Our Primary Care teams are here to help.
Visit a Primary Care facility near you today!