Adults need their shots, too!

A nurse gives an adult woman a shot in her arm. Adult vaccinations are important for maintaining health throughout your lifetime.

When you hear “vaccines,” you probably think of children. But vaccines protect adults, too. There may be some shots you need, depending on your age and health conditions.

What’s on the list?

Childhood shots lay the foundation for adult health. But you’re not done because you reach voting age. There are more vaccines in the CDC’s recommended adult immunization schedule. They include:

  • Hepatitis A & B (Hepatitis A vaccine, Hepatitis B vaccine)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV vaccine)
  • Influenza (flu vaccine)
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR vaccine)
  • Meningitis (meningococcal vaccine)
  • Pneumonia (Pneumococcal vaccine)
  • Tetanus and diphtheria (Td vaccine)
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough/pertussis (Tdap vaccine)
  • Chickenpox (varicella vaccine)
  • Shingles (herpes zoster vaccine)

It’s not just about you

Vaccines also help everyone around you. Think of your family. Are there any babies on the way? The Tdap vaccine protects you against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough, also known as pertussis. Whooping cough can be dangerous or even deadly for a newborn, who is too young to be vaccinated. Being vaccinated helps prevent you from passing a disease to a child.

Now, think of older family members or people you come into contact with at work, the gym, shopping, or elsewhere. People who have serious illness or are undergoing cancer treatment have weakened immune systems. They’re vulnerable to infection. Something as simple as you getting an annual flu shot or the shingles vaccine can help protect them as well as you.

Vaccination is crucial at every age

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) offers ten reasons for people to get vaccinated. It’s important to remember that vaccine-preventable diseases still exist. NFID reports that approximately 50,000 adults die from vaccine-preventable disease each year in the United States.

Talk to your doctor

Your doctor will recommend what vaccines you need based on your age, medical conditions, and other factors. As a general guide, look at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine recommendations.

And remember, most vaccines are covered for free* by ConnectiCare plans.

Additional sources: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/reasons-to-vaccinate.html; https://www.cdc.gov/features/adultimmunizations/; https://acpinternist.org/archives/2019/10/immunization-is-everyones-issue.htm; https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/downloads/matte-grandparents.pdf

*“Free” preventive care means that you will not have a copay or have to pay money toward your deductible or coinsurance for the services. Sometimes a preventive care visit leads to other medical care or tests, even at the same appointment. You should check with your doctor or doctor’s staff during your visit to see if there are services you may be billed for.

About Wayne Rawlins, MD, MBA

Dr. Wayne Rawlins, vice president and chief medical officer at ConnectiCare, is a former member of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, where he worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to advise and make recommendations on national vaccine policy.