Adult Immunization had lesser prominence in developing countries and had been an ignored component of healthcare services in the past. This was so due to the complexity of prevailing issues revolving around the efficacy, safety and expenses involved for mass adult immunization. However, thanks to increased awareness of preventive healthcare and a strong emphasis on reducing medical expenses, it is gaining significance today.
Adult vaccination is crucial because it reduces mortality rates globally. Therefore it is imperative to focus on the health consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases amongst the adults, particularly the senior population. Vaccination for seniors is recommended based on various criteria depending on their age, health conditions, previous immunization records, lifestyle, travel and employment (if any).
Why adults need vaccination?
• Protection from childhood vaccines ceases and booster doses are required.
• Helps in safeguarding kids, especially babies, who are too young to be administered certain vaccines like the flu vaccine.
• Some vaccines like Shingles vaccine are only meant for adults above 60 years of age as the risk of getting infection increases with age.
• Travel to foreign countries necessitates extra precaution as illnesses may be different from those of home country.
• Some vaccines need to be taken on an annual basis.
• There is a lack of adherence to childhood immunization schedule making adults more susceptible to infectious diseases.
• Latest and newer vaccines have been developed.
• Immunization records are lost and having them is mandatory for certain legal procedures.
• Some adults and even seniors may be employed in the healthcare profession where they are exposed to various sorts of potential infections.
• Being sexually active with multiple partners increases the risk of infection transmission through blood.
• The existence of chronic ailments or habits like smoking weakens the body immunity thereby calling for additional measures of disease prevention.
• To enhance health awareness to the younger generation as disease prevention is easier than cure.
Recommendations for Adult Vaccination
The Adult Vaccination Schedule figuratively summarizes the usually recommended vaccines for adults categorized by age groups and medical conditions and specifies other indications. It also tabulates the vaccine-specific contraindications and precautions along with footnotes.
The most common vaccines recommended popularly for adults include-
• Influenza vaccine which must be taken annually for preventing flu as immunity is short-lived.
• Pneumococcal vaccine as pneumonia causes significant complications in elders and can even be fatal. Usually, it is to be taken as a one-time vaccination by seniors aged sixty-five years or older.
• Zoster vaccine which prevents the outbreak of shingles, a serious skin disease related to chicken pox, which causes contagious and painful rashes. It must be taken in two doses at an interval of two to six months.
• Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis (TDaP)-This vaccine contains the same components of the Tetanus-Diphtheria vaccine along with the additional Pertussis component to prevent whooping cough. It must be taken once in ten years.
Other recommended vaccinations for adults are-
• Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B to prevent liver disease
• Human Papillomavirus to prevent some types of cancer
• Measles, Mumps, Rubella(MMR)
Apart from vaccinations seniors are advised to take immune system supplements as body defense mechanisms weaken with age leading to health complications. Probiotics, multivitamin tablets containing vitamins like B, B6, D and E, zinc and also natural products like fresh vegetables and citrus fruits, greens, nuts and yogurt can be good immunity boosters.
Elders need extra support and precautions for maintaining their health. Senior Care options like Assisted Living Facilities and Senior Nursing Procedures ensure that seniors get prescribed immunizations regularly and take sufficient health supplements through medication and diet for their well-being.
In brief, adult vaccination definitely plays a pivotal role in creating a healthier population!