Adults Need Vaccines, Too
Parents hear the message early and often: get your kids vaccinated, but the truth is vaccines are not just for kids. Our need for immunization doesn't just end when we become an adult. The fact is we still need to get vaccinated to protect ourselves and our loved ones from serious diseases.
For example – I always make sure to get my flu vaccination every year because I provide elder care to my mother. Now in her late 80s, it’s not only important for her to get her flu shot, but I have to get mine too. Doing so reduces my chances of bringing her home any germs of making her sick.
Besides, protection from vaccines we get as children can wear off over time, putting us at risk for new and different diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), what vaccines we need as an adult and when do we need them are determined by factors such as our age, job, lifestyle, health conditions, locations of travel, and vaccines we’ve received in the past. Throughout our adult life, vaccines are recommended to get and maintain protection against:
- Seasonal flu (for all adults)
- Pertussis (whooping cough) (for all adults who have not previously received the Tdap vaccine and for women during each pregnancy)
- Tetanus and diphtheria (every 10 years following Tdap vaccine)
- Shingles (for adults 60 years and older)
- Pneumococcal disease (for adults 65 years and older and adults younger than 65 who have specific health conditions)
The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reports pneumococcal disease, caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, is one of the most common causes of pneumonia among New Mexicans. In 2014, there were 313 confirmed cases of invasive pneumococcal disease in New Mexico.
Pneumococcal pneumonia can follow an influenza (flu) infection making flu season a more common time for both diseases. That’s a pretty important thing to be worried about as we are at the start of peak flu season in New Mexico and nationwide. NMDOH recommends adults at high risk (65 years and older or people with weakened immune systems) get the pneumonia vaccine because risk for severe pneumonia increases during the winter months.
Other vaccinations adults can often use include those that protect against human papillomavirus (HPV, which can cause certain cancers), against meningococcal disease, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, chickenpox (varicella), and measles, mumps, and rubella.
Adults should talk to their primary care provider or pharmacist about getting vaccinated. The New Mexico Department of Health offers vaccines for uninsured adults, or those who would otherwise not be able to get vaccinated.
Visit the New Mexico Department of Health Immunization program page to find more information on pneumonia and other adult immunizations in New Mexico.
We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.
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