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What to Know About Vaccinations as an Adult

 |  General

The transition into adulthood comes with a lot of new responsibilities. This includes work, bills and finances, insurance, potentially taking care of a family, and more. One other thing you’re responsible for is your health. Adult immunization is a big part of staying healthy, because immunization plays a big role in preventing you from getting sick. There are many different adult vaccines that are needed if you want to maintain proper immunity. Most adult vaccines are the same ones you got when you were younger. They just should be repeated in a different dose now that you’ve matured. These immunizations will help you focus on all the other responsibilities of adult life.  

Why do you need immunizations as an adult?

Not all of the vaccines you got as a child created immunity that would last a lifetime against common infectious diseases. Take tetanus vaccines for example. They need to be updated and require booster shots once every 10 years for immunity to be maintained. 

Maintaining immunity isn’t the only reason why adult vaccines and booster shots for adults may be necessary:

  • Some adults might never have received any vaccines as a child.
  • Immunity can fade over time.
  • We become more at risk for serious diseases caused by common infections as we age.
  • Vaccine recommendations and vaccines themselves change over time. 
  • Certain vaccines had not yet been invented and approved when some adults were younger.
  • Adults will often come into contact with more people than they did as children. This puts them at a higher risk for contracting an infectious disease. 

How do I check my vaccination status?

Checking your vaccination status to see if there are any adult vaccines or booster shots for adults you need is easy. Just ask your doctor’s office, and they should be able to provide you with your records. If not, you can check with a previous doctor’s office or employer. If you’ve recently become an adult, your parents should know where these records are. Your state’s health department would be another good resource because they  have a registry for adult immunization.

In the worst-case scenario, you may need to get your blood drawn and tested by your doctor to see what infectious diseases you are vulnerable to. This will help your doctor understand what vaccines you may need to get.

What vaccines do adults need?

Like stated before, some vaccines you got as a child may need to be repeated as adult vaccines. This is necessary for you to retain immunity. You should talk to your doctor about this, but typically you will need to receive these vaccines: 

  • Flu (influenza) vaccine: The older a person is, the more issues they are at risk for if they contract the common flu. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone above the age of six. Adults 50 and up should not get the nasal spray version of the vaccine. 
  • Pneumococcal vaccines: The CDC recommends adults 65 and older get both pneumococcal vaccines to prevent pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections.
  • Tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine: The Tdap vaccine is given to most children when they reach the age of 11 or 12. If you did not get the Tdap vaccine when you were younger, the CDC recommends getting it as soon as possible. One Tdap dose should also be given during weeks 27 and 36 of pregnancy. Tdap boosters are also recommended every 10 years. 
  • Shingles vaccine: The vaccine Shingrix is recommended for healthy adults aged 50 and up by the CDC. The vaccine is given in two doses. 
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: HPV vaccines are recommended for children ages 11 or 12. Individuals aged 15 to 26 that did not get the vaccine when they were younger should continue to receive three doses of the vaccine. There is also an FDA-approved HPV vaccine for individuals aged 9 to 45.
  • COVID-19 vaccine: The CDC recommends all people over the age of 12 get a COVID-19 vaccine and a booster shot. 

What Vaccines the CDC Recommends for Adults

The CDC recommends three adult vaccines. These are the COVID-19 vaccine, influenza (flu) vaccine, and Tdap vaccine. The CDC also recommends COVID-19 booster shots for adults. The CDC recommends additional forms of adult immunization based on:

  • Health conditions
  • Your age
  • Lifestyle and travel habits
  • Your job

Talk to your healthcare provider for more information on the additional adult vaccines that may be necessary for you.

Wondering what adult vaccines you may need? Your primary care physician can discuss immunization options with you and administer any due shots as necessary. Schedule your check-up with our primary care physicians today at Bayless Integrated Healthcare!