Adults Need to Consider Vaccines Too
May 14, 2010

By Christine Vara
When I began my affiliation with Shot of Prevention, I encouraged readers to join me on my journey as I learned about vaccines and their effect on public health.  What I knew previously came from my personal experiences with my own five children.  However, in the 13 years since my oldest was born, new vaccines have been developed, the immunization schedule has been modified and the scope of the vaccine dialogue has broadened immensely.
I knew that there would be much to discover.  What I didn’t realize was how limited my view was.  Previously, I had considered vaccination to be an issue pertaining to children.  Interestingly enough, I am now beginning to understand the importance of vaccines at every stage of life.
A few months ago, I found myself in a discussion with my pediatrician regarding the HPV vaccine for my eldest daughter.  Just last week, a family member and I were discussing shingles and the painful and lasting symptoms that people suffer with as a result of this illness.  Then, the other day, my husband received multiple vaccinations in preparation for an upcoming trip overseas.  While this is a common occurrence required of his military occupation, I had never really considered it much before now.  He travels to various places where there is a lot of disease.  It just made sense that he would be vaccinated.  I had never even thought about how I may benefit from adult vaccinations.
Then today I came across a new online article entitled “Adults Need Vaccines Too” at Parenting.com.  It urged adults to be vigilant regarding immunizations and presented some surprising statistics regarding the extremely low percentage of vaccinated adults.  It went on to explain that some adults may never have had access to certain vaccines or never completed the recommended schedule as children.  Perhaps adults may not consider themselves at risk, or they may believe that their mature immune systems could adequately fight them off.  Others, like me, may inaccurately assume that the vaccines they received as children are still protecting them – not realizing that immunity can fade over time and that booster shots can prevent disease in adults.  The article has made me stop and question myself.  “Why is it that I haven’t received adult vaccines?” I wondered.
Surprisingly, throughout my entire adult life and through all five of my pregnancies, I have never had a doctor suggest I receive any vaccinations.  Since the subject was never raised, I never really considered that it was necessary.  Like many other adults, I guess I just associated vaccinations with infants and world travelers.  What I’ve learned now is that I need to be proactive and begin the conversation with my doctor.  While I rely on my doctor to make suggestions, I am ultimately responsible for maintaining my own health.
The Parenting.com article provides a good starting point by explaining the various vaccines that are most typically recommended for adults.  I urge you to review the article and share other references that our readers may find helpful by commenting below.  Together, we can empower one another by sharing our knowledge.


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