Health & Wellness
National Immunization Awareness Month is observed every August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. While vaccines are often associated with childhood, adults are encouraged to stay current with their immunizations to maintain their health and protect against preventable diseases.
“Staying up to date with vaccinations is not only a personal responsibility but a vital contribution to community health,” says Jennifer Veltman, MD, chair of infectious disease at Loma Linda University Health. “Just as we witnessed the power of vaccination in curbing the spread of diseases with the recent pandemic, adults play a pivotal role in maintaining a shield of immunity that safeguards not only their well-being but also the health of those around them.”
Here are several vaccines she recommends adults receive to ensure their well-being in 2023.
Influenza (Flu) Vaccine
The influenza vaccine remains a yearly essential for adults. Influenza viruses are known to change over time, and the vaccine is updated annually to match the most prevalent strains. Getting a flu shot protects you from severe illness and helps prevent the spread of the virus within the community. Those with cardiac disease should especially consider getting the influenza vaccine as there is a known increased risk of cardiac events when infected with influenza.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the significance of vaccination. As of 2023, COVID-19 vaccines continue to play a vital role in controlling the spread of the virus, reducing severe illness, and preventing hospitalizations. Adults are encouraged to receive booster doses as recommended by health authorities to enhance immunity and maintain protection against emerging variants.
Tdap Vaccine (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis)
The Tdap vaccine is a combination vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Adults should receive a Tdap booster every 10 years to ensure ongoing immunity. This vaccine is especially crucial for those in close contact with infants, as pertussis can be severe in young children.
Shingles (Herpes Zoster) Vaccine
Experts recommend the shingles vaccine for adults 50 and older to prevent the painful rash and complications associated with the herpes zoster virus. The two-dose series of the vaccine provides long-lasting protection against shingles and its related nerve pain, known as postherpetic neuralgia.
Pneumococcal vaccines protect against infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, which can lead to pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections. Adults aged 65 and older, and those with certain underlying medical conditions, should receive the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) or can get the new pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV20).
Hepatitis A and B vaccines are recommended for adults who may be at risk from factors like travel, occupation, medical conditions, or lifestyle choices. These vaccines protect against potentially severe liver infections.
By staying current with recommended vaccines, adults can safeguard their health, reduce the risk of serious illnesses, and contribute to the overall well-being of their communities. Consult with your primary care provider to determine which vaccines are appropriate for you based on age, medical history, and lifestyle.