National Immunization Awareness Month is an important reminder for all of us – children and adults – to stay current with vaccinations and shots. It seems as though we hear about the importance of immunizations when we are young or travelling overseas, but immunizations are essential in preventing illness and serious diseases, regardless of age or travel plans.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that there are specific immunizations you need as an infant, child and adult, which are determined by factors such as age, lifestyle, high-risk conditions, type and locations of travel, and previous immunizations.
For children (younger than 19 years old), recommended vaccines provide protection from 16 vaccine-preventable diseases, such as:
- whooping cough (pertussis)
- bacterial meningitis
For adults, immunizations are recommended through adulthood to get and maintain protection against:
- Seasonal influenza (flu) (for all adults)
- Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) (for all adults who have not previously received the Tdap vaccine)
- Shingles (for adults 60 years and older)
- Pneumococcal disease (for adults 65 years and older and adults with specific health conditions)
- Hepatitis B infection (for adults who have diabetes or are at risk for hepatitis B)
Other vaccinations adults may need include hepatitis A, chickenpox (varicella), measles, mumps, rubella and those that protect against human papillomavirus (which can cause certain cancers).
The CDC provides additional information on immunization schedules and recommendations on its website. It’s important for caregivers, parents, adults, and guardians to check with your health care provider about whether you and your family are current on immunizations and vaccinations.