All adults need immunizations to help them prevent getting and spreading serious diseases that could result in poor health, missed work, medical bills, and not being able to care for family.
- All adults need a seasonal flu (influenza) vaccine every year. Flu vaccine is especially important for people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, and older adults.
- 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.
Some of the common vaccines for adults include:
Tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis) (Tdap, Td) vaccine: As the name suggests, this vaccine is indicated to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough in adults. If you have not received a dose of Tdap during your lifetime, you need to get a Tdap shot now. Moreover, every pregnant woman needs to get a dose during each pregnancy. For adults between 18 and 64 years who have completed their primary vaccination schedule, should get a Td booster dose every 10 years. Consult your healthcare provider if you haven’t received Tdap shots or if you have a deep or dirty wound.
Hepatitis vaccine: Hepatitis vaccine offers protection against the hepatitis virus which can cause liver disease. Adults at high risks should get administered a 3-dose series of single-antigen hepatitis B vaccine (HepB) or combined hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine (HepA-HepB) at 0, 1, and 6 months. The risk groups include those with chronic liver disease, HIV infection, sex partners of those with hepatitis infection, men who have sex with men or if you travel or stay in hepatitis endemic areas.
Influenza vaccine: In order to protect against the flu virus, it is advised to administer one dose of inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV) annually as per your age under medical guidance. The vaccination is indicated in high-risk subjects, such as those suffering from lung disease including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. Also, pregnant women and those with low immunity such as those on steroids are also advised to take this vaccine.
Pneumococcal vaccine: It is advised for use in adults aged >65 years for the prevention of pneumonia. However, if you are younger than 65 years and have a certain high-risk condition such as asthma, heart, lung, or kidney disease, immunosuppression or you lack a functioning spleen or are a smoker, you may need the vaccine. There are two different types of pneumococcal vaccines such as polysaccharide vaccine and conjugated vaccine. Talk to your doctor to know which vaccine is better suited.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: The HPV vaccination is recommended for girls and boys to protect against genital warts and cervical cancer. It is most effective when administered before the onset of sexual activity. You need this vaccine if you are a woman aged 26 years or younger or a man aged 21 years or younger. The vaccine is usually given in 3 doses over a 6-month period. Those (both men and women) with no previous dose of HPV vaccine should get administered a 3-dose series at 0, 1–2, and 6 months interval.