In the U.S., vaccines have greatly reduced or eliminated many infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed many infants, children, and adults. However, the viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable disease and death still exist and can be passed on to people who are not protected by vaccines.
Every year, thousands of adults in the U.S. still suffer serious illness, are hospitalized, and even die due to disease for which vaccines are available.
Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, the protection from some vaccines you received can wear off. You may also be at risk for other disease due to your job, lifestyle, travel, or health condition.
Vaccines can reduce your chance of spreading certain diseases by working with the body's natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease and reduce your chances of getting certain diseases and suffering from their complications.
Vaccines are very safe:
Vaccines are tested by the Food and Drug Administration and monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and FDA after they are licensed.
Vaccine side effects are usually mild and temporary. The most common side effects include soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site. Severe side effects are very rare.
Vaccines are one of the safest ways to protect your health. However, if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system, talk with your doctor before being vaccinated, as some vaccines may not be recommended for you.
Vaccines can help you stay healthy so you don't miss work and you have time for your family, friends and hobbies. Getting your recommended vaccines can give you the peace of mind that you have the best possible protection available against a number of serious diseases.
Adult vaccinations to consider:
Influenza vaccine - All adults need a flu vaccine every year. The flu vaccine is especially important for people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, and older adults.
Td or Tdap vaccine - Every adult should get the Tdap vaccine once if they did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years. In addition, women should get the Tdap vaccine each time they are pregnant.
HPV vaccine - This protects against the human papillomaviruses that causes most cervical cancers, anal cancer, and genital warts. It is recommended for: women up to age 26 years, men up to age 21 years, and men ages 22-26 who have sex with men.
For information about adult vaccine preventable diseases and what vaccine you need, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/index.html, www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/vpd.html and www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/index.html. Resource: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This column was submitted by Fulton County Public Health.