Vaccination for Adults – Why it Matters
Vaccinations for Adults
Vaccination is one of the most valuable and cost effective action we can adopt to protect ourselves from diseases that are potentially fatal. Vaccination is not meant just for kids. In fact, there are certain ages in adult life when the requirement for immunization arises.
Millions of adults worldwide fall seriously sick and get hospitalised for illness that can easily be prevented by vaccines. The need for vaccines does not go away with age. Regular vaccinations for adults actually helps in boosting the efficacy of vaccines taken in childhood, help immunity for newer comorbidities and also provide protection against diseases when your immunity is suppressed.
Vaccines Recommended For Adults
Vaccinations for adults are recommended based on their age, medical conditions, occupation, lifestyle, travel and prior vaccination record.
Recommended vaccinations for adults include:
- Flu Vaccine
Flu vaccine is administered as a shot (the most common type) or sometimes, as a nasal spray once a year. The vaccine is generally given in the flu season. All adults should get this vaccine, unless they have a medical reason not to.
- Pneumococcal Vaccine
Pneumococcal vaccine is administered as a shot. There are two of these vaccines. For a healthy adult over 65, both vaccines are needed. The timing as well as the sequence of these vaccines depend on what vaccine you may have had earlier.
For people with long-lasting kidney failure or other conditions, doctors recommend another dose 5 years after the first.
This vaccine is generally recommended to all adults who are 65 and older. However, if you are younger than 64, you need this vaccine if you:
- Have Asthma
- Live in a long-term care facility or a nursing home
- Take medicines or treatment that makes you more prone for an infection. These include radiation therapy, steroids and some cancer drugs.
- Have long-term conditions like lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, a cochlear implant, cirrhosis, sickle cell disease, leaks of cerebrospinal fluid or alcoholism
- Have a disease that reduces your body’s defenses against infection, such as lymphoma or leukemia, kidney failure, AIDs, HIV and multiple myeloma
- DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis) Vaccine
A single shot of DTP, also called the Tdap vaccine, can protects against all three diseases. A shot of Td vaccine guards against tetanus and diphtheria. A one-time DTP vaccine, followed by a Td booster every 10 years is all you need to protect yourself from these three diseases. The vaccination has to be taken by:
- Adults up to the age 64 who have not had the DTP vaccine in the past 10 years or at all
- Pregnant women, preferably between 27 and 36 weeks of each pregnancy
- People aged 65 and above who have not had the vaccine and will be in close contact with a child younger than 12 months
- Anyone who has not had a tetanus shot in the past 10 years and has already taken a DTP shot should get a Td vaccine.
Why Vaccinations for Adults are Important ?
- Adult Vaccinations can save lives
Globally millions of adults fall seriously sick and get hospitalized for diseases that could be prevented easily by vaccines. Adult vaccinations are also necessary because more than 25 percent of mortality is due to infectious diseases. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccination coverage worldwide is still 85 percent with no significant increase from the past few years. If vaccination coverage in adults is increased, an additional 1.5 million deaths can be avoided.
- Protection from vaccines against some disease can wear off
Some diseases like influenza (flu), pneumococcal disease are more common in adults. In some cases like diphtheria , the childhood vaccination protection can wear off over time. That’s why, vaccines for diseases like tetanus/diphtheria a booster is recommended every 10 years.
- Adults can be at risk for new and different disease
In addition, adults can be at risk for new and different diseases owing to their age, lifestyle, job, health condition or travel plans. For instance, adults who work in health care settings are at risk for hepatitis B, adults with some chronic health conditions are at risk for pneumococcal disease and adults who are travelling internationally can be at risk of diseases we don’t see here in India such as yellow fever.
- Vaccination can help protect others too
When you get vaccinated, you will help in protecting others by making it less likely that you will get a disease and spread it. This may also help protect those who cannot be vaccinated like people with some medical conditions and very young babies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Your immune system is an efficient system that helps protect you against pathogens that causes infection.
However, certain pathogens can overwhelm your immune system. When this happens, it may cause illness.
The pathogens that cause problems are the ones that our body does not recognize. Vaccination helps train or teach your body’s immune system on how to recognize and get rid of an organism it has not come into contact with before. That way, your body is fully prepared if you are ever exposed.
Most of the vaccines do not prevent you from becoming infected with a certain pathogen. They rather allow your body to stop the infection before getting sick, or prevent you from getting seriously ill when you get infected.
For instance, as per the CDC, the flu shot decrease your risk of getting flu by 40% to 60%. Studies also approximates that getting a flu shot makes you 82% less likely to get admitted to an ICU (intensive care unit) with flu-related diseases than someone who is not vaccinated.
This may help you, and also helps other around you, including those in your community who cannot be vaccinated owing of serious allergies or a medical condition that weakens their immune system. Pathogens spreads quickly from person to person and when a large number of individuals in a community are vaccinated, the pathogen cannot spread as easily.
Vaccines are rigorously tested and undergo many rounds of examination study and research before they are released and used for the general public. Therefore, they are considered to be safe.
There overwhelming bulk of research and evidence material available out there that shows that vaccines are not only safe but the side effects are also rare.Typically, the side effects that do occur are mild.
In fact, there is a greater risk of getting potentially sick for people who choose not to get a vaccine. The disease may be far more worse than the potential side effects of any vaccine.
Vaccines have proved to be highly effective. However, the effectiveness of vaccines differs from one type to another.
As per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu vaccines are effective in lowering the risk of flu infection by 40 to 60 percent in those who get the shot. The the World Health Organization (WHO), on the other hand, says that the measles vaccineis 98 percent effective when administered as recommended. Indeed, according to WHO, most childhood vaccines are 85 to 95 percent effective if administered properly.
Most of the side effects from a vaccine injection are mild and some people may not experience any side effects at all. However, when side effects do occur (some rarer than other), they include:
- Joint pain near the injection site
- Pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site
- Weakness in the muscle on a particular region of the body
- Low-grade to high fever
Severe side effects are extremely rare and may occur after taking some types of vaccines .
Adult Immunization Schedule
Adult Vaccination At Home
The major hurdle that impedes successful adult vaccination program is restricted movement. Many adults owing to a variety of health conditions and due to the current pandemic situation are not able to freely move out of their home and hence, stay deprived of many life saving vaccinations. To bridge this gap between elderly patients and medical healthcare Apollo Home healthcare services offers world-class health care services at your doorstep.
Be it vaccinations, general health check-up or any other specialised care, Apollo Hospitals’ highly qualified doctors and healthcare professionals are there to help you, even within the comfort of your home. To schedule your appointment with our expert health professionals today, call: