Vaccination is one of the most beneficial and cost effective measures we can adopt to protect ourselves from potentially fatal diseases. Vaccination is not only meant for kids, in fact there are specific ages in your adult life when the need for immunization arises.
All over the world millions of adults fall seriously ill and get hospitalized for diseases that could be easily prevented by vaccines. The need for vaccinations does not go away with age and regular vaccines for adults help boost the efficacy of childhood vaccines, aid immunity for newer comorbidities and provide protection against diseases when immunity is suppressed.
Vaccines Recommended For Adults
Vaccines for adults are recommended on the basis of various factors like age, prior vaccinations, health conditions, lifestyle, occupation and travel. The various vaccines for adults recommended by CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, United States) and ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practises, United States) are discussed below;
1) TDAP (TETANUS, DIPHTHERIA AND ACELLULAR PERTUSSIS) VACCINE
Adults who have completed their primary vaccination series should receive a Td vaccine every 10 years till the age of 65. One dose of Tdap vaccine can be administered in place of Td vaccine at any time.
Who should get it – This vaccine is recommended for everyone, especially people with weakened immune systems.
Who should not get it – People who’ve had seizures or an allergic reaction to Tdap need to avoid this vaccine.
2) MMR OR MEASLES, MUMPS AND RUBELLA VACCINE
The MMR vaccine as it is called protects against three highly contagious diseases-measles, mumps and rubella. All adults should receive two doses of MMR vaccine or one dose of measles followed by one dose of MMR vaccine.
Who should get it – People who haven’t gotten their MMR vaccine and have never had measles.
Who should not get it- MMR vaccine is a live vaccine and hence pregnant women are not given this vaccine. Also people with HIV or AIDS, undergoing cancer treatment, having blood disorder and immunosuppressed are generally asked by doctors to avoid it.
3) VARICELLA VACCINE
Varicella vaccine or chicken pox vaccine is a regular part of today’s vaccination program.
Who should get it – All adults without evidence of immunity to varicella or previous infection should receive two doses of single antigen varicella vaccine or the second dose of single antigen varicella vaccine if they have received only one dose.
Who should not get it – Varicella is a live vaccine and hence is contraindicated in pregnant women and immunosuppressed people. People who’ve had a blood transfusion or with HIV/AIDS or cancer should also refrain from taking this vaccine.
4) HERPES ZOSTER VACCINE OR SHINGLES VACCINE
The shingles vaccine is a lyophilized preparation of the OKA strain of live attenuated varicella zoster virus. This vaccine also protects from a condition called postherpetic neuralgia, which is a complication that brings about burning pain after the symptoms of shingles subsides.
Who should get it – All adults above 50 years of age should get this vaccine. People who’ve had chicken pox should also get this vaccine, even people who’ve already had shingles should get the Herpes Zoster Vaccine.
Who should not get it – Pregnant women and people with weakened immunity should best avoid this vaccine. Those who are allergic to gelatine or the antibiotic neomycin should also best stay away from this vaccine.
5) HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV) VACCINE
The HPV vaccine safeguards from a series of infections that can lead to cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancer in women and penile cancer in men. The infections caused by human papillomavirus can also lead to anal cancer, genital warts and throat cancer.
Who should get it – The HPV vaccine is recommended for boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected from the virus through any future sexual activity. Men with sexual relationships with other men can also get the vaccine until 26 years of age.
Who should not get it – Pregnant women and people allergic to it are advised against having this vaccine.
6) PNEUMOCOCCAL VACCINE
Pneumococcal vaccination acts as a safeguard from infections caused by the Streptococcus Pneumoniae bacteria that can potentially lead to pneumonia, meningitis, blood infections and death. There are two types of pneumococcal vaccine – a conjugate vaccine consisting of 13 strains (Pneumococcal 13) and a polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumococcal 23) containing 23 strains of the bacteria.
Who should get it – The pneumococcal vaccine is recommended by doctors once an individual turns 50. People living with chronic illness, sickle cell disease, cochlear implants, transplanted organs and immunosuppressed people should consider taking this vaccine.
Who should not get it – People having known allergic reactions to the vaccine.
7) HEPATITIS A AND B VACCINE
Both these viruses infect the liver and hence, Hepatitis A and B vaccine is warranted to protect oneself from potentially fatal infection caused by these two bacteria.
Who should get it – Anyone and everyone can take Hepatitis A and B vaccine to protect oneself. Also people who regularly travel outside the country, men having sexual relations with other men, people using illegal drugs, people suffering from haemophilia and having chronic liver disease.
Who should not get it – People having allergic reactions to hepatitis A and B vaccine need to stay away from the vaccine.
8) MENINGOCOCCAL VACCINE
They are two different types of meningococcal vaccine – the meningococcal polysaccharide vaccines and meningococcal conjugate vaccines.
Who should get it – Adults with anatomic or functional asplenia or complement component, microbiologists routinely exposed to isolates of Neisseria meningitides
9) INFLUENZA VACCINE
The influenza vaccine is a yearly vaccination that protects from flu
Who should get it – Influenza vaccine is intended for everyone over the age of six months.
Who should get it – People having severe, life threatening allergic reaction to the flu vaccine, are allergic to eggs or have had Guillen – Barre syndrome