This month, we recognize National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) to emphasize the value and importance of vaccination to protect and promote health and well being and encourage healthcare professionals to recommend the vaccines their adult patients need.
All adults should get vaccines to protect their health. Even healthy adults can
become seriously ill, and can pass certain illnesses on to others. Immunization is
especially important for older adults and for adults with chronic conditions such
as asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), diabetes or heart
disease. Immunization is also important for anyone who is in close contact with
the very young, the very old, people with weakened immune systems, and those
who cannot be vaccinated.
All adults should get the influenza (flu) vaccine each year to protect against
seasonal flu. Every adult should also get the Td or 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 are also recommended to get the Tdap vaccine each time they are
pregnant, preferably at 27 through 36 weeks.
Adults may need other vaccines – such as shingles, pneumococcal, hepatitis,
HPV – depending on one’s age, occupation, travel, health status, vaccination
history, and other risk factors.