Vaccines for Adults
When we think of vaccines, we likely think of the COVID vaccine or childhood vaccines, both of which are very important. We sometimes forget the other vaccines that adults need to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases. Here are the top five reasons to check in with your healthcare provider about vaccines at your next appointment.
Vaccines mitigate your health risks. You could be at greater risk of some vaccine-preventable diseases due to your age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions. Vaccines work to prevent those diseases and decrease your risk.
Nothing lasts forever. Childhood immunizations wear off. By getting vaccinated as recommended as an adult, you are as well protected as your children are.
Getting vaccinated is a smart financial decision. Vaccines save millions of people per year from debilitating diseases that keep them from going to work and caring for family members. Not getting vaccinated on schedule relates to missed work and medical bills.
Improved longevity. Vaccines are a part of a combination of habits that lead to a longer healthier life, like seeing your primary care provider regularly, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, not smoking, managing stress, and getting enough sleep.
Vaccines protect you and those around you. Just like the COVID vaccine protects you, your family, and your neighbors, the annual flu vaccine protects you and those around you against influenza and post-flu complications. Likewise, Tdap vaccine prevents whooping cough, among other illnesses. Whooping cough is especially dangerous for infants, so pregnant people and anyone caring for an infant at home are especially encouraged to get the vaccine in the last half of pregnancy. The rest of us can get the Tdap vaccine once and a tetanus/diphtheria booster every 10 years.
It’s easy. While there are different vaccines recommended for different people based on a number of factors, you can simply check with your doctor about which ones are right for you. They can help you decide which to get and when. Those looking to research adult vaccines can visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/index.html.
Marie George, MD, FIDSA, is an infectious disease specialist at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, in Bennington.