Do Adults Really Need Vaccinations?
Understandably, childhood immunization remains the central focus of most vaccination advocates. While many things have changed in the world of health and medicine over the years, kids will still be kids. In addition to being active and curious about almost everything around them – particularly what any given object may taste like – they are also known to frequently exhibit an almost irresistible gravitation towards many unhygienic practices, pushing to the limits the workings of their still-developing immune systems. While much of this exposure is of course healthy and strengthening, susceptibility to diseases such as whooping cough and measles is not. Despite controversy, vaccination against these and other diseases has proven to be the most effective and incomparable form of prevention.
But what about the parents of these children repeatedly and unwittingly needle-poked by these strange people in white coats? Shouldn’t they be sharing in this burden? The answer, actually, is yes. The persistent risk of disease is unavoidable, and along with a responsibility for their children’s health, adults also hold a responsibility to themselves in assuring their own immunity. While childhood immunizations combined with the basic aging process greatly decrease our chances of catching most preventable diseases, our entrance into adulthood and beyond introduces us to many new risk factors and opportunities for infection we often don’t take into account, or may not be aware of at all.
There are a multitude of reasons for all adults to consider future vaccinations, though some of these reasons are more relatable than others. Waning immunity, for example, is a possibility every adult should take into account. Some vaccinations received as children, such as the meningococcal and DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) vaccines simply do not last a lifetime and consequently require periodic booster shots. Receiving these shots as recommended is not just important for one’s own health, but also in protecting the health of everyone else around us, especially any unvaccinated individuals (mainly very young children) or anyone with increased risk of infection.
And while no one really enjoys thinking about their age, we must admit (some more than others) that many years have passed since our childhood immunizations. During this time, advancements in medical science have continued to be made and new vaccines we would not have received as children have been introduced, namely the HPV vaccine (recommended to anyone 26 or younger), and the shingles vaccine (recommended to anyone 50 or older), both approved in 2006.
While these are just a couple reasons for everyone to reexamine their vaccination needs, ultimately, the health of every individual is in their own hands and must consequently take into account his or hers own, unique health circumstances. Some vaccines important for one person may not be of immediate concern for many others, and vice versa.
For more information on adult vaccinations, we recommend visiting:
CDC Adult Vaccine Recommendations