Immunizations and adults

by Mary Rains

Mille Lacs Health System

August is National Immunization Awareness month, and Mille Lacs Health System reminds its patients that immunizations are not just for children. All adults should get recommended vaccines to protect their health. Even healthy adults can become ill and pass diseases onto others. Everyone should have their vaccination needs assessed by a health care professional. Certain vaccines are recommended based on a person’s age, occupation or health conditions (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes or heart disease).

Vaccination is important because it protects the person getting the vaccine and helps prevent the spread of disease, especially to those who are most vulnerable to serious complications (such as infants and young children, the elderly and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems).

All adults should get an influenza (flu) vaccine each year to protect against seasonal flu. Some people are at high risk of serious flu complications and it is especially important these people get vaccinated. This includes older adults (65 and older), children younger than 5, pregnant women and people with certain long-term medical conditions like asthma, heart disease and diabetes.

Every adult should get one dose of Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) if they did not get Tdap as a teen, and then receive a Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster vaccine every 10 years. Women should get a Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy, preferably during their third trimesters (between 27 through 36 weeks of their pregnancy).

Adults 50 years and older are recommended to receive the shingles vaccine. Adults 65 and older are also recommended to receive both pneumococcal vaccines. Some adults younger than 65 years with certain conditions are also recommended to receive one or more pneumococcal vaccinations.

Adults may need other vaccines (such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B and HPV) depending on their age, occupation, travel, medical conditions, vaccinations they have already received or other considerations.