Immunization for Adults: Guidelines
A vaccine is a medication given to produce antibodies against a certain infection to prevent that infection from occurring. The vaccination program in the US has dramatically reduced the prevalence of once-common diseases, including measles, mumps, and polio. Today, many vaccines are administered during childhood and adolescence, but some are necessary in adulthood. Many adults are not aware that they could still benefit from new vaccinations and “booster” doses of previously administered vaccinations.
Older adults are particularly susceptible to some of the infections that can be prevented by vaccination. In fact, complications from influenza (the flu) and pneumonia —both diseases that can be vaccinated against—are a leading cause of death in older adults. Fortunately, getting the recommended vaccines can greatly reduce the risk of vaccine-preventable infections.
Another reason for getting recommended immunizations is to protect your family, friends, and others around you from becoming ill. Many vaccine-preventable infections can be spread from person to person, so getting vaccinated helps protect anyone who comes in contact with you from contracting these diseases.
Last reviewedAugust 2012by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.