Adult Vaccinations – What They Are and Why You Need Them
How many times do you have to call in sick to work because of a runny nose, sore throat, a headache or a fever? And how many times did you blame the weather conditions, your work life or your immunity? Don’t you wish that you could have a permanent solution to your constant Influenza attacks? The answer to all of your problems is Adult Vaccination.
Yes, last time you got vaccinated, you were a kid, and you were being vaccinated against serious diseases like Polio, Diphtheria, BCG, Japanese Encephalitis, Hepatitis B, etc. But now you are an adult immune forever from all of these diseases, right? Well, think again, because the effects of most of these vaccines tend to wear off with age. Adult vaccinations provide our bodies with an up to date defence system against diseases while acting like a firewall protecting us from unpredicted and unknown viral attacks.
Our immunity depends on these vaccines which are basically weakened viruses, bacteria or parts of them which when injected into our body prepares our body for a fight against a future infection. These are also known as “booster vaccination” which are re-administered into our body so that the immune system is well up to date.
The best person to advise you on whether or not you need to be vaccinated is your Doctor. All you need is to make an appointment and show up with your childhood medical record of the vaccines already injected. Adult vaccination which may be provided after the doctor’s consultation is dependent on age, gender, and prevalent medical conditions. Adult Vaccination available can be categorized in the following manner:
Age , Gender, Allergies or other health conditions ,Healthcare workers , Immigrants, refugees or travellers
Age for adult vaccination can be further classified into various age groups especially based on persisting medical conditions. It is generally advised by Physicians to take the following vaccines as per the mentioned classification:
Influenza vaccine: Physicians generally advise that the Influenza vaccine dose is injected annually.
Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis vaccine(TDP): Irrespective of an infection if a patient lacks documentation, or meets the required age criteria which extend from 19 to more than 65 years of age, it is advised to get a dose of the TD booster every ten years.
Varicella vaccine: This vaccine can be taken by any age group but pregnant women or people with HIV(<200 CD4+ count) and immunity hampering diseases are advised against it.
Zoster vaccine: The age group considered for this vaccine is 60 and above and includes homosexual men, diabetics, people with chronic kidney, liver or heart problems and asplenia but pregnant women or people with HIV(<200 CD4+ count) and immunity hampering diseases are advised against it.
Measles, mumps, rubella vaccine(MMR): The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella and is recommended for age group 19 to 54 but pregnant women or people with HIV(<200 CD4+ count) and immunity hampering diseases are advised against it.
PCV13 and PPSV23: 1 dose is advised for people with the prevalent medical condition or for those without any medical record of having taken this vaccine previously, it is advisable for all age groups but it is strongly advised for those above age 65 if they lack medical records.
Hepatitis A vaccine: 2 to 3 doses of the vaccine is advised for all age groups, healthcare workers, pregnant women, or people with any medical conditions especially for homosexuals or people with chronic liver diseases.
Hepatitis B vaccine: 3 doses of the vaccine is advised for all age groups, healthcare workers, pregnant women, or people with any medical conditions especially for homosexuals, HIV patients and people with chronic liver and kidney diseases.
Meningococcal vaccine: 2 to 3 doses of the vaccine is advised for all age groups with medical conditions especially if there are no medical records on asplenia.
HIB vaccine: A dose is advised for all age groups with medical conditions especially if there are no medical records on asplenia and post-HSCT recipients who are advised to take 3 doses.
Gender specific vaccine:
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: HPV occurs in most sexually active adults and causes cervical cancer in women and genital warts irrespective of gender. Thus this vaccine is highly recommended for young adults. The age group for the vaccination is restricted from nineteen to twenty-six. It is also categorized by gender, that is, both genders within the aforementioned age group need to take 3 doses of the vaccine, but for males, it is not compulsory for age group twenty-one to twenty-six. But if the consulting doctor recommends it, it might be due to a lingering risk factor which is usually observed in homosexual males. Also, pregnant women are advised to avoid the Human papilloma vaccine, and they should consult their gynaecologist regarding any other vaccinations they might need to take or avoid.
The aforementioned vaccines comprise only very few of Adult vaccinations available to date.
The other two categories advised on adult vaccinations are Immigrants, refugees or travellers and Healthcare workers. Most countries do not allow immigrants who haven’t been vaccinated against their native diseases. Similarly, for travellers as well. Occupationally, healthcare workers should get all vaccinations since they are most prone to the diseases due to constant exposure.
Just like a child, adults may also experience the mild side effects like fever, redness or swelling of the injected area, headache or some nausea from the vaccines, but they are very minor and last only for a few days.
But the benefits of adult vaccination are far greater, as one can reduce their medical expenses, avoid life-threatening diseases, feel safer as one grows older and an overall improvement of life.
In short, get vaccinated today, live healthy tomorrow.