There’s a common perception that only kids and children are in need of vaccines and adults usually don’t get vaccinated and don’t even like to.
Though you’ve had all your childhood vaccinations, there are several reasons to get vaccinated when you grow older. Some vaccines wear off, new vaccines are available, you may be at higher risk for certain illnesses that shots can protect you from, and vaccinations help protect the people around you.
“What makes vaccines unique is that they protect the person who is vaccinated as well as the community in which they live,” said Bruce Gellin, president of global immunization at Sabin Vaccine Institute, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., that promotes vaccine development.
“This is as true for adults as it is for infants and children, and we’re encouraged that the research community is developing vaccines that will prevent serious infectious diseases like pneumonia across the lifespan,” Gellin continued.
These are six vaccines you should consider getting as an adult to protect your health:
HPV Vaccine (Gardasil 9)
According to Nathan Samras, an assistant professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, getting this vaccine reduces the risk of contracting the human papillomavirus and subsequently lowers an individual’s chances of having cervical cancer or genital warts.
Earlier, the vaccine was recommended to the females upto 26 years of age, but the FDA has recently expanded the recommendation to include men and women up to age 45. The vaccine is said to have played a major role in reducing cancer.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s advisable for all the adults to get this vaccine if they didn’t receive it in adolescence, and then follow it with a Td booster shot every 10 years to continue protection against tetanus and diphtheria.
The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Whooping cough).
The vaccine also helps the pregnant women during 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy to help protect their babies.
Shingles Vaccine (Shingrix)
Also known as herpes zoster is effective in preventing both shingles and postherpetic neuralgia.
Pneumococcal disease is a quite common illness but at time it can become severe and can lead to death with serious infections like pneumonia and meningitis. This is quite common among the elders over 65 years of age.
“For adults, two different pneumonia vaccines are available ― PPSV23 and PCV13,” said Lisa Doggett, an Austin, Texas-based family physician. “Each protects recipients against different strains of pneumococcal bacterial infection.”
The CDC recommends these vaccines for adults 65 and above, as well as in younger adults with certain medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease that put them at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill. “They cannot stop all forms of pneumonia, but they cut the risk significantly and save lives,” Doggett said.
The CDC suggests taking a flu vaccine every year to stay away from the seasonal flu and to protect yourself against influenza, which kills thousands of people each year.
Samras said this vaccination has one of the lower rates of immunization, partly because of a common misconception that the vaccine will cause the flu. “I empathize with the possibility of having those symptoms when the immune system is triggered, but I do reassure patients that they’re not getting the flu,” Samras said.
Traveling to new places would often make us sick due to the climatic conditions. “Adults traveling may benefit from typhoid, Japanese encephalitis, cholera, and yellow fever vaccinations depending on the location of their travel,” said Amesh Adalja, a physician and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
To know which vaccines you are supposed to take on your tour, you can search your destination on the CDC’s travel destinations page, where you can find detailed information regarding the required and recommended immunizations for most countries.