Adults need vaccines, too
Featuring Dr. Alisa Holland, WellMed at Bayside, Tampa, Florida
August is National Immunization Awareness Month, a great time to review what vaccinations may be needed for every member of the family.
In addition to parents getting their children’s shots updated for school, it’s also a good time for adults to review the immunizations they may need to keep themselves, and those around them, healthy.
“Many adults may think they are set for life when it comes to routine vaccinations,” said Dr. Alisa Holland, WellMed at Bayside, Tampa, Florida. “That’s not necessarily the case. Immunizations we received as a child or young adult can wear off over time.”
Dr. Holland fully backs advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to talk to your health care provider about immunizations you may need based on your age, health conditions, job, lifestyle or travel habits.
“Here are a few vaccines that all adults need,” she said.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and free. Here’s what every adult needs to know:
- You are protected best from COVID-19 when you stay up to date with he recommended vaccines. You are up to date when you have received all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended for you.
- Vaccine recommendations are different depending on your age, your medical conditions and time since last dose.
- To ensure you are protected, talk to your health care provider.
- Annual influenza (flu)
As fall approaches, it’s time for an annual flu shot for everyone ages 6 months and older. It’s best to get a flu shot in September or October. If not by the end of October, get it as soon as possible. Flu shots are especially important because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it is possible to get both illnesses. Older adults and people with chronic health conditions can be more seriously affected by the flu.
- Tdap — Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough)
Most people don’t worry about getting a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis booster, but it’s important for some adults to receive this vaccination:
- Pregnant women
- Adults who are around very young babies
- Any adult who did not receive the recommended series of DTaP (the immunization given to children) as a child
Discuss these vaccinations with a health care provider; they are the best source for information.
“These three immunizations are to ward off what could be deadly diseases, especially for those who are older,” said Dr. Holland. “Also, older adults, especially those ages 65 and older, should talk to their care provider about vaccines to protect them against pneumonia and shingles.”
It’s important to keep your vaccination records current. Because vaccinations are available at a variety of locations, they may not be recorded at your primary care physician office. If this information isn’t recorded at the office, it can be difficult for a clinician to keep up with what vaccinations are needed.
Ask your physician for a copy of your immunization records. In addition, many states have a central database that contains immunization records. Check to see if your state of residence has such a database.
“A little effort can go a long way toward protecting your health,” said Dr. Holland. “Be proactive when it comes to your health and protect yourself from these serious illnesses.”
Dr. Alisa Holland is board certified in internal medicine. She received her medical degree at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, and completed her residency at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Holland practices at WellMed at Bayside in Tampa, Florida.