Are you missing a dose of a critical vaccine? Here’s how people vaccinated in Michigan can check

Young woman talking to her doctor

This story appeared on Click On Detroit. Read the full story here.

The shots you need should be part of the conversation you have with your doctor at your annual physical.

The start of the school year tends to be catch-up time when it comes to childhood vaccines, but many tweens, teens, adults, and seniors are also missing important shots.

When children are little, they are constantly getting shots, but as people age, the doses become less frequent. It’s easy to lose track of which vaccines are needed. There are certain shots that are timed to match up with periods of higher risk, and those are the ones you don’t want to skip.

Dr. Neha Vyas at the Cleveland Clinic said for adults, the two important vaccines are for shingles and pneumonia.

“Talk about routine vaccinations. Something that you should be setting up an appointment with your primary care doctor and talking about the vaccines that you need on a regular basis. Some of these don’t happen yearly,” Vyas said.

The shingles vaccine is recommended starting at age 50. Adults should consider starting the pneumonia vaccine at age 65.

Age 11 is also a critical age for vaccines. The first meningitis vaccine is recommended at age 11 to 12, as is a dose of Tdap, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).

Another dose of the meningitis vaccine is recommended at age 16, along with the meningitis B vaccine between the ages of 16 and 18.

The HPV vaccine is recommended between nine and 12 to protect against six types of cancer down the road. Vyas said it’s crucial to remember to get your booster doses for any vaccines that require them.

“Boosters are very important because the efficacy of vaccines goes down over time, so boosters are important in fighting off these particular diseases. So tetanus, for instance, needs a booster every 10 years. Another one is shingles, which needs the initial vaccine and then a booster approximately six months later,” Vyas said.

Annual flu shots are also recommended for everyone ages six months and older. And updated COVID shots will be available sometime this fall.

If you’ve been vaccinated in Michigan, you can download your immunization record from the state through the Michigan Immunization Portal. Your doctor also has access to the system, so they can print out the information if you ask.

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You’ve got questions. That’s a good thing.

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About I Vaccinate

I Vaccinate provides information and tools based on real medical science and research to help Michigan parents protect their kids. Support is provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Franny Strong Foundation.

You’ve got questions. That’s a good thing.

As parents, determining how best to protect our children can be overwhelming and confusing. We’re here to help.

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