There is an old saying once a man and twice a child. This may apply to Boomers who need to make sure that their vaccinations (shots) are current. If you think that shots are only for the grandchildren, think again. Many adults are familiar and compliant with taking the annual flu shot, but are unaware of other recommended vaccinations.
Need for immunization
Your vaccinations may need to be updated because:
- Protection may decrease or fade over time.
- Newer vaccines are now available
- Aging increases the risk of contracting infections e.g.pneumonia and the flu
- Some adults were never vaccinated
The following vaccinations are recommended for persons 50 years of age and older.
HEPATITIS A (HEPA)
Hepatitis A is spread through eating or drinking contaminated food or water, or contact with someone who is infected. Two doses of the vaccine are given over a 6 – 18 month period.
Hepatitis B (HepB) is spread through contact with the blood or body fluid of someone who is infected. It is especially recommended for health care workers and other high-risk-persons. Three injections are given over a six months period.
You are encouraged to get this vaccine during fall or winter to reduce your risk of getting the flu and infecting others. Because of different strains of the flu, immunization has to be repeated each year.
Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
These vaccines are given during childhood. One dose of the vaccine is usually given. However, persons fifty eight years of age and over may need a second dose.
The pneumococcal vaccines PCV 13 and PPSV23 protect against pneumonia. Adults 65 years of age and older are encouraged to have these immunizations. PCV 13 is given as 1 lifetime dose. PPV23 is given 6-12 months later and may require one or more doses.
Tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis)
Tdap contains the whooping cough vaccine, while Td (tetanus and diphtheria) does not. Adults are encouraged to be vaccinated, if they did not get it as a child. This is a one-time vaccine, but a Td booster is required every 10 years.
Herpes Zoster (shingles) – The shingles vaccination is recommended for persons 60 years of age and over, especially if they previously had chicken pox. It is a one- time vaccine.
Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)
Adults 60 years of age and older with high risk health conditions should get a one-time dose of this vaccine.
You may question the risks, benefits and safety of these vaccinations. According to health experts they offer lifetime protection.
IMPORTANT: You should discuss the need for immunizations with your health care provider.
Harriette Barker, Ph. D, RN