Vaccines are an effective way to prevent a range of infectious diseases. They stimulate your immunity with a small amount of disease-bearing microorganism in a weakened or killed state without producing the disease itself.
Why is vaccination important?
Vaccinations are the adage, “Prevention is better than cure,” in action. They help your body develop immunity to several infectious diseases without falling ill. Mandatory vaccinations have helped eradicate diseases like polio and smallpox and successfully prevented diseases like tetanus. Vaccines helped save millions of lives in the 20th century and continue to do so today.
Do adults need vaccination?
Immunization isn’t only for children. You need to continue getting vaccinated as an adult too due to several reasons including waning childhood vaccinations, work requirements, travel, pregnancy, lifestyle or health conditions. Even if you’ve received a vaccine for a disease as a child, you may need a new “booster” shot.
Five reasons why adults need vaccination too
- Some childhood vaccines only work in childhood
Adults can get certain diseases, which they may not have been at risk at as children. You may need to get yourself a shot for diseases like shingles (a condition caused by the same virus as chickenpox), even after you grow old.
- Your immunity needs a refresher
A few vaccines may only need to be administered once. However, for diseases like tetanus, the effects of the vaccines may wear off. Adults may need ‘booster’ shots every few years to keep the protection intact.
- You may be at risk of catching new infections
As we age, we tend to meet more people and travel to different, more exotic places. This automatically exposes your body to new infections which it may not have adapted to. That’s why travelers are often given travel vaccinations before they visit new countries – it’s important to check which ones with your travel clinic at least 6 weeks before you travel.
- When new vaccines are released
With research and progress in medicine, scientists develop new ways to prevent diseases, of which, vaccines are one of the most effective solutions. When new vaccines are released, it is essential that everyone who can, should take a dose to prevent further infections.
- Vaccination helps protect everyone
By getting vaccinated, you are helping stop the spread of disease and the likeliness of passing it on to others - especially infants, the elderly, and people with certain medical conditions who are unable to get vaccinated. It’s essential that everyone who can get immunized, should keep up to date with their vaccinations.
What vaccines do you need as an adult and how do you get them?
There are four vaccinations that adults over the age of 50 should get; the seasonal influenza shot(’flu shot’), shingles, pneumococcal (to help prevent pneumonia in over 65s with certain health conditions) and tetanus every 10 years. The triple vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis recommended for pregnant women. Each immunization has different doses and requirements, speaking to your doctor will help you understand which vaccines you need.
Are vaccines safe?
Yes, vaccines are safe. While vaccines can have side effects in some people, they are very rare and not serious. The illnesses they help prevent however, are a greater risk to you than the side effects. Your doctor or travel clinic will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have about getting vaccinated.