Did you know that every year, thousands of people in the U.S. suffer serious health problems and even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines? Vaccines are important for people of all ages and are recommended throughout a person’s life. It is important to know which shots you need and when to get them because even if you received some as a child, some vaccines can wear off or you may now be at higher risk for other diseases. In order to know which vaccines are right for you, your health care practitioner will look at your age, medical conditions, occupation, past vaccines received, and many other factors. Below is a quick overview of common vaccinations that are recommended:
- Everyone age 6 months and older is recommended to get a flu vaccine every year. Flu shots start to be administered at the end of summer or early fall, so be sure to get your soon!
- Pregnant women are recommended to receive the flu shot and the tetanus/pertussis/diphtheria vaccine. Getting the flu vaccine while pregnant decreases the risk of flu for the mother and can protect the baby for several months after birth. Tdap is recommended to be administered between 27-36 weeks as this will help protect the baby from whooping cough once they are born.
- Adults over 65 years old are at a higher risk for more serious infections. For this reason it is recommended that most patients over 65 receive a series of pneumonia vaccines and the shingles shot (Zostavax).
- Adults with health conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, and diabetes are at higher risk of suffering complications from certain vaccine-preventable diseases like flu and pneumonia. If you or family members have one of the above medical conditions, discuss getting the pneumonia shot (Pneumovax) with your practitioner or pharmacist.
- All adults should receive Tdap once and a Td booster every 10 years to protect against tetanus, pertussis, and diphtheria.
Talk to your health care provider to make sure that everyone in your family is up to date on all recommended vaccines for the best protection. To learn more, visit: