Module 2: Primary Care & Screening
Vaccines / Immunizations
Vaccines, immunizations or shots, are another part of preventive healthcare. Vaccines can prevent disability and death from diseases and infections. Because of vaccine programs, there is no smallpox in the world and cases of polio, measles and diphtheria are very rare. We need vaccines to stay healthy and to keep others around us healthy.
Do adults need vaccinations?
Vaccines are not just for kids. Many adults become sick or die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. Adults may need vaccines because:
- Many adults were never vaccinated as children
- Newer vaccines were not available until recently
- Older adults have a higher risk for diseases caused by infections
- Immunity can fade over time
Do you need a vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information and vaccine schedules for children, adolescents, adults and older adults. They also recommend vaccines for healthcare workers and people traveling to another country.
CDC Vaccine recommendations:
|Influenza (flu)||Respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms: fever, chills, cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, headaches, body aches. Complications may include pneumonia, ear or sinus infections.||Each year|
|Herpes Zoster (shingles)||A painful skin rash. Symptoms: pain, itching or tingling of the skin is followed by painful blister-like lesions on one side of the body, the face or trunk.||People 60 and older|
|Pneumococcal disease||An infection caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). Symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Complications: death, long-term problems such as brain damage, hearing loss or limb loss.||Adults 65 and older|
|Tetanus||Disease of the nervous system. Bacteria enters the body through a break in the skin. Symptoms: lockjaw, stiff neck and abdomen, difficulty swallowing. Complications: bone fractures, abnormal heartbeat, death in 10-20% of cases and more among older people.||Adults, every 10 years|