Vaccinating our children is commonplace in the United States.
But few adults know they need vaccines, and even fewer are fully vaccinated.
Each year, tens of thousands of adults needlessly suffer, are hospitalized, and even die as a result of diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. However, a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey showed that most U.S. adults are not even aware that they need vaccines throughout their lives to protect against diseases like pertussis, hepatitis, shingles and pneumococcal disease.
Not only can vaccine-preventable diseases make you very sick, but if you get sick, you may risk spreading certain diseases to others. That’s a risk most of us do not want to take. Infants, older adults and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases. They are also more likely to have severe illness and complications if they do get sick. You can help protect your health and the health of your loved ones by getting your recommended vaccines.
All adults should get:
* Annual flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu
* Td/Tdap to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis
In 2013, only 24 percent of adults age 60 and older had received a shingles vaccine and only 17 percent of adults older than 19 had received a Tdap vaccine. Some additional vaccines you may need (depending on your age, health conditions and other factors) include:
* Hepatitis A
* Hepatitis B
* Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
The good news is that getting vaccinated is easier than you think. Adults can get vaccines at doctors’ offices, pharmacies, workplaces, health clinics and health departments. Visit vaccine.healthmap.org to help find a vaccine provider near you. Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines – a call to your insurance provider can give you the details. More (PDF)
Traveling overseas? There may be additional vaccines you need depending on the location. Find out at http://cdc.gov/travel.