By Jessica Pitluk, MD
The topic of vaccines can be confusing. Deciding the type of vaccine, when it should be given, how frequently booster shots need to be administered, possible side effects and the safety of the vaccine contribute to the confusion.
At Vera Whole Health, patients have time to discuss questions or concerns with their providers about adult and childhood vaccines. We believe that knowledge is power. The more our patients are educated, the more empowered they are to make the right health decisions for themselves and their families.
The topics of childhood vaccines and travel vaccines will not be addressed in this article. We use CDC guidelines for both childhood and travel vaccines at Vera Whole Health and stay current on the latest data regarding vaccines.
Common Adult Vaccines
The CDC recommends one annual vaccine for all adults, the flu shot. Other common vaccines recommended for adults include the following:
- Tetanus Booster: The tetanus booster is recommended every 10 years. The CDC recommends substituting the regular tetanus booster with a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine) at least once. Re-immunizing adults against pertussis (whooping cough) helps protect more vulnerable populations that may not have immunity to this infection.
- Shingles: For adults 50 and over the shingles vaccine is recommended as a one-time vaccination. Although this vaccine is FDA approved for adults 50 and over your provider may not recommend it until age 60.
- Pneumonia: It is recommended that healthy adults 65 and older receive a vaccination for pneumonia. Depending on prior vaccination an individual may require 1 or 2 different pneumonia vaccines.
Are Vaccines Safe?
Vaccines are safe, well studied, and well tolerated by the majority of people. There are rare reactions to vaccines and if you have any questions we encourage you to discuss these concerns with your healthcare team.
Vaccines Prevent Disease
Vaccines are beneficial not only to the person receiving the vaccine but also in keeping the community safe. “Herd” immunity is a term used in public health to describe the phenomenon in which most members of a community are protected against a disease when a high proportion of the community is immunized against the contagious disease.
We encourage vaccination to keep you, your family and your community healthy.
Vaccines are a great topic to bring up with your Vera provider at any visit. You’ll have time to talk through any concerns or questions and explore the right choices for you.