Yes, adults need immunizations, too!
Was the last time you had a vaccine the last time you enrolled in school? If so, it’s time to talk to your health care provider about your vaccination status.
Why do adults need shots?
If your last immunization was decades ago, you are likely overdue for some booster shots. Another consideration is whether you ever had certain immunizations that are routine today but may not have been when you were a child. If you didn’t have a disease like mumps or chicken pox as a child, and have never had the vaccines now available, you’re at risk. And some of these diseases can have serious effects on adults — in fact, the diseases can be more serious for adults than for children.
When was your last tetanus shot?
It’s not unusual for adults to have no idea when their last tetanus shot was. In fact, when did you last receive any vaccine? Especially if you’ve needed to change health insurance and primary providers a number of times in recent years, you may be unable to identify what vaccines you’ve had and when you had them. Talk to your doctor and work on a plan to identify and get all needed immunizations, and to keep a record of this information so you don’t get behind again in the future.
Can tests reveal whether I need a vaccine?
Yes, a blood test can reveal whether you have immunity to certain diseases. Talk to your doctor about whether such a test would be helpful for you. Your doctor may recommend that you simply get the vaccine anyway.
What shots do I need?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a handy chart that shows what shots adults need. The recommendations will depend on whether you are part of a special population (including pregnant women) or part of a high-risk group. Those who travel to certain destinations may need shots that others do not need. It can be confusing, so the best advice is to talk to your doctor about your immunization history.