This article appeared in VolumeOne. Read the full story here.
From birth to adulthood, vaccines (shots) can help keep us healthy at every stage of life. Vaccines protect us from many dangerous diseases that once caused death and serious harm to people of all ages. To protect you and your family, learn more about the vaccines you need at every age. Make sure both you and your kids get vaccinated on time.
Babies and Children
Give your baby a healthy start by making sure they get all the recommended vaccines. Without vaccines, your baby or young child is at risk for diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough, and flu, which can cause disability or even death.
Children need 10 routine vaccinations. These vaccines and the diseases they protect against are:
1. DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis)
2. MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella)
3. HepA (hepatitis A)
4. HepB (hepatitis B)
5. Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b)
6. PCV13 (pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia)
8. RV (rotavirus)
9. Varicella (chickenpox)
10. Flu: Not just for babies and kids. Everyone 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine every year.
Talk to your child’s primary care provider (PCP) about the vaccines they need.
Preteens and Teens
Some vaccines work better when given during pre-teen and teen years. During the preteen years, protection from certain childhood vaccines begin to wear off. Getting booster shots, or extra doses of vaccines, can help increase protection. If your child is age 11 or older, ask your child’s doctor about theses shots:
• HPV (Human papillomavirus): protects preteens from cancers caused by HPV, a very common virus
• MenACWY and MenB: prevents meningitis
• Tdap: a booster shot for tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough
• Flu: should be given every year, no matter your child’s age
Keep your teen healthy into adulthood. Make sure they’re up-to-date on all their shots.
Vaccination Beyond Childhood
Vaccination isn’t just for kids. All adults need vaccines to prevent serious illnesses that could lead to poor health, missed work, medical bills, and not being able to care for family.
What vaccines do healthy adults need?
• Flu: All adults need a flu vaccine every year. This vaccine is very important for people with chronic conditions, pregnant women, and older adults.
• Tdap: Every adult should get the Tdap vaccine once if they didn’t get it as a child, and then a Td booster shot (tetanus and diphtheria only) every 10 years.
• HPV: The HPV vaccine is recommended for men and women up to age 26 if they didn’t get vaccinated when they were younger. For the best protection, the vaccine should be given at ages 11 or 12.
Adults Ages 50 and Older
As we get older, our immune systems tend to weaken over time, putting us at higher risk for certain diseases. So, in addition to flu and Tdap vaccines, adults between 50 years and older may also need:
• Shingles vaccine
• Pneumococcal vaccines (PCV13 and PPSV23)
You may need other vaccines based on your age, health conditions, job, lifestyle, or travel habits. Talk to your doctor about which ones are right for you.