August Is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)
The purpose of NIAM is to remind people of all ages about the importance and benefits of vaccinations. You may be aware of the various vaccinations for infants and school aged children if you have grandkids. However, it is also imperative that adults and seniors stay up-to-date on the current immunizations and recommendations.
Even Healthy Adults Should Receive Vaccines
Vaccination is important because it protects the person receiving the vaccine and helps prevent the spread of disease, especially to those who are most vulnerable to serious complications (such as infants and young children, the elderly, and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all adults need:
Vaccines for Adults 60 Years or Older
Vaccines protect against serious diseases such as shingles, measles, Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) disease, influenza, and pneumococcal disease.
The immune system weakens as we age, putting older adults at a higher risk for catching these preventable diseases. Certain vaccines are recommended based on a person’s age, occupation, or health conditions (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes or heart disease). If you are 60 years or older you should discuss the following vaccines with your health care provider:
- Zoster vaccine; adults 60 years and older are recommended to receive the shingles vaccine. About one half of the estimated 1 million Americans affected with shingles each year are 60 years or older.
- Pneumococcal vaccines; all adults over 65 years old (and some adults younger than 65 years who have certain chronic health conditions) are recommended to receive one or more of the vaccines available to prevent pneumococcal disease, which is any type of infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.
Adults may need other vaccines (such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and HPV) depending on their age, occupation, travel, medical conditions, vaccinations they have already received, or other considerations.
Which Vaccines Are Right for You
Remember, prevention is important for keeping your entire family healthy as young children are also at a higher risk for catching these diseases. Everyone should have their vaccination needs assessed at their doctor’s office, pharmacy, or other visits with health care providers.
To learn more about vaccines and take a quick quiz to find out which vaccines you may need, visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults.