Many adults erroneously believe that they no longer need additional vaccinations to stay healthy. However, not only can immunity fade over time, we are also more susceptible to the serious effects of common infections as we get older.
According to the CDC, more than 226,000 people are hospitalized, and from 3,000 to 49,000 people die of influenza every year. Among these people affected by the virus, most are young adults. Here are some vaccines that those aged 18 to 56 may still very well need.
The influenza vaccine protects against the seasonal flu virus and should be administered annually. More than just causing you to feel sick, Influenza may lead to hospitalization or death. There are different versions of the vaccine available, but all are equally effective.
TETANUS, DIPTHERIA, PERTUSSIS (Td/Tdap)
This vaccine is needed only once in a lifetime. Following your Tdap vaccination, you will need get a Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster once every ten years.
HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV)
HPV is a series of 3 vaccines you receive over a period of three months. Papillomaviruses cause genital warts, most cervical cancers, and anal cancer. The vaccine is now routinely given to children, but adults who did not receive the vaccine as children can get the vaccine up to age 26.
MEASLES/ MUMPS/ RUBELLA (MMR)
An MMR vaccine is recommended if you did not receive the vaccine as a child, or if lab tests show you are not immune to measles, mumps, or rubella. It is administered one time for most adults, but those travelling to foreign countries or college students, may need a second dose.
Meningococcal disease is the primary cause of meningococcal meningitis, which can cause disabilities, such as brain damage, and death. Although not all adults need this vaccine, many are at risk for various reasons, such as college students and people with certain congenital deficiencies.
A Note on Vaccinations for Travel
Those traveling to foreign countries are at increased risk for infection, and may need additional vaccinations as well. The CDC is currently working on a vaccine for the Zika Virus, for example, which has had devastating consequences for those infected. The outbreak of Zika shines a spotlight on the need for adult vaccinations for travel, especially pregnant women and those who have compromised immune systems.
Immunizations-Adult Immunizations. WebMD.
Immunization Schedules for Adults in Easy-to-read Formats. CDC.