Contrary to popular belief, immunizations aren’t just for children. Both kids and adults can benefit from the protection of vaccines.
But which ones do you and your family need? Some are recommended for everyone, while others are age-specific.
Children and Adolescents
Ensuring your children are properly vaccinated can provide them with lifesaving immunity. Thorough testing ensures that vaccines are safe and effective for children at the appropriate ages. Some of the vaccines that children and adolescents should receive include:
MMR – This vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella is given in two doses. The first dose is usually given between 12 and 15 months of age, while the second dose is typically given between 4 to 6 years of age. College students without evidence of immunity should get two doses. Anyone traveling internationally should also get vaccinated before going abroad.
HPV – The HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer as well as other cancers linked to HPV. Two doses of the HPV vaccine are recommended for boys and girls starting at age 11; the second dose is typically given six to 12 months after the first dose. Earlier vaccination is better before exposure to the virus, but HPV vaccination is recommended through age 26 for women and age 21 for men.
Influenza – The seasonal flu shot is recommended annually for everyone six months and older. It can be given year round if available, especially for children and those traveling outside the United States. For adults, the vaccine is usually given early in the flu season to provide the maximum protection when the flu becomes more wide-spread.
Adults don’t need as many vaccinations as children and teens, as you’ve likely already received most or all of the necessary ones. However, adults need to keep their vaccinations up to date because immunity can wear off over time. Here are some immunizations to keep in mind:
Tdap – The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus (lockjaw), dipheria and pertussis (whooping cough), all of which are now considered rare in the United States. That said, they’re all still very serious conditions. This vaccine is also given in multiple doses, and it’s recommended that teens and adults get a Td booster every 10 years.
The AvMed website offers handy printable PDFs for child, adolescent and adult immunizations. These files contain full timelines, recommendations and additional information regarding vaccinations. Click here to access them.
You can also use the CDC’s Adult Vaccine Self-Assessment Tool to find out which vaccines you might need. You can find it here.