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Not just for kids

By Kimberly Blanton from September 2014 Issue

Not just for kids

Credit: Thinkstock

Even adults need immunizations. Vaccines are recommended based on age, prior vaccinations, health, lifestyle, occupation, and travel.

What common immunizations do I need as an adult?
You should get a flu vaccine yearly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend the Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) for adults 19 and older who have never received it. A combined tetanus and diphtheria booster vaccine is needed every 10 years.

The varicella immunization is essential for adults who've never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine. Adults also need the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine if they've never received it or never had these three diseases. Those born after 1956 may need two doses of the MMR vaccine if they do not have evidence of immunity.

Check with your doctor about a vaccine if your travel or job puts you at increased risk for exposure to polio.

What vaccinations should I have if I'm an older adult?
All adults 65 and older need one dose of the pneumococcal vaccine. It doesn't prevent pneumonia, but it can prevent some complications. If you're 60 or older, you need one dose of the shingles vaccine, even if you've had shingles before.

What about hepatitis?
Anyone who will be in close contact with an adopted child from a country with high rates of hepatitis A should be vaccinated, as should adults who will be traveling to certain foreign countries or have certain risk factors. Adults 19 to 59 with diabetes as well as adults whose travel, health condition, or lifestyle increases their risk of exposure should be vaccinated for hepatitis B.



KIMBERLY BLANTON is UK HealthCare's enterprise director for infection prevention and control/safety.