by Dr. Dennis Petersen
Vaccinations, also called immunizations, work by giving you a weakened or dead form of certain germs. These germs are not strong enough to make you sick, yet you will make antibodies to fight them. The antibodies will then stick around to be ready to fight off an actual infection if you’re ever exposed to them.
Why might some adults need vaccines? Some adults incorrectly assume that the vaccines they received as children will protect them for the rest of their lives. Generally this is true, except that:
Some adults were never vaccinated as children
Newer vaccines were not available when some adults were children
Immunity can begin to fade over time
As we age, we become more susceptible to serious disease caused by common infections (such as flu and pneumococcus)
The vaccine schedule is updated every year, and changes range from the addition of a new vaccine to changes to current recommendations. To determine exactly which vaccines you need now and which vaccines are coming up, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.
There Are Vaccines You Need as an Adult
Influenza (flu) vaccine every year – (protection from the seasonal flu)
Td or Tdap vaccine: Every adult should get the Tdap vaccine once if they did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years. In addition, women should get the Tdap vaccine each time they are pregnant, preferably at 27 through 36 weeks.
HPV, or human papillomavirus (protection from genital warts and cervical cancer)
Talk to your doctor about getting this three-dose vaccine if your ages 26 or younger.
Zoster or herpes zoster (protection from shingles) – Adults age 60 and older need this one-dose vaccine.
Hepatitis A & B (protection from the hepatitis A and B viruses) These are only recommended if you have certain risk factors like having diabetes, or traveling to places where the diseases are common.
Other vaccines you may need as an adult are determined by factors such as: age, lifestyle, health conditions, job, international travel, any previous vaccines you have received.
Learn more about what other vaccines may be recommended for you and talk to your healthcare professional about which vaccines are right for you.
Dr. Dennis Petersen, D.O. is located at 27403 Ynez Road, #103, Temecula. For questions or to make an appointment, call (951) 506-3112.