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It is the common opinion of healthcare providers that immunizations are one of our best defenses against illness and death, but people often forget that adults need to keep their vaccinations up-to-date as well.
"The protection vaccines provide can wear off over time. And adults are at risk for different diseases than children," said Dr. Tamara Sheffield Intermountain Healthcare Medical Director for Preventive Medicine. "Individuals may need other vaccines based on age, health conditions, job, lifestyle or travel habits."
Here are four vaccines Sheffield suggested adults should make sure they are up-to-date on:
- Pneumococcal: A new pneumococcal vaccine has been released for people age 65 and older who haven't been vaccinated, or under 65 and immunocompromised or with a chronic condition that puts them at risk for pneumonia (such as asthma or smoking). The pneumococcal vaccine can prevent some cases of pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis.
- Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for ALL adults – just like it is for all kids. This vaccine protects again liver cancer and liver disease. Two-thirds of those who get Hepatitis B don't have a known risk factor for it, but can develop a serious infection if not protected.
- Zoster: The Zoster shingles vaccine has been recommended for people aged 50 and older. Now it is recommended for those 19-49 who are immunocompromised. Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Anyone who has had chickenpox may develop shingles.
- Influenza: Seasonal flu vaccine is generally available in early fall and is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older. See your provider for the version that is best for you.
"Another vaccine we need to keep on our radar is COVID," Sheffield said. "New versions of this vaccine are coming soon. A recombinant protein vaccine by Novavax may be available for those who haven't been vaccinated yet. And for those who have been vaccinated, boosters targeting more recent variants are being studied."
Many vaccines are covered by health insurance as part of a preventive visit. Your doctor can help you decide which vaccines you may need, or you can consult with your local health department.
For more information, see https://intermountainhealthcare.org/health-information/immunization/.