This is the fifth in a series of articles from Alamosa Immunization Coalition for National Immunization Awareness Month to remind everyone that vaccines are needed throughout their lives.
VALLEY — In the United States, vaccines have greatly reduced infectious diseases that once routinely harmed or killed many infants, children and adults. However, the viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable disease still exist and can cause illness in people who are not protected by vaccines.
Vaccinating children is commonplace in the United States. But many adults don’t know which vaccines they need, and even fewer are fully vaccinated. Every year, thousands of adults in the U.S. become needlessly ill from infectious diseases. Many adults are hospitalized and some even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines.
Not only can vaccine-preventable diseases make you very sick, but if you get sick, you may risk spreading certain diseases to others. That’s a risk most of us do not want to take. Babies, older adults and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases. They are also more likely to have severe illness and complications if they do get sick. You can help protect your health and the health of your loved ones by getting your recommended vaccines.
The good news is that getting vaccinated is easier than you think. Adults can get vaccinated at doctors’ offices, pharmacies and health departments. Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines—a call to your insurance provider can give you the details.
What vaccines do you need? All adults should get an annual flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu and a Td vaccine every 10 years to protect against tetanus and diphtheria. You may also need other vaccines based on your age, health conditions, occupation and other factors. These could include: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Meningococcal, Pneumococcal and Shingles.
If you are planning to travel outside of the U.S., check on any additional vaccines you may need. Some travel-related vaccines are part of a series or are needed months prior to your travel to be most effective, so be sure to plan ahead. Find out at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.
Still not sure what vaccines you may need? The CDC offers a short quiz at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adultquiz to help find out which vaccines you might need. You can take the results of your quiz to your provider to discuss which vaccines are right for you.
For more information about adult vaccines: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults.