Shots aren't just for kids

Published in Internal Medicine Author: Tiffany Rickbeil,MD

Vaccines have been designed to help keep everyone healthy — regardless of one’s age.

Not only were some adults never vaccinated as children, but there are newer vaccines that were not available when we received our childhood immunizations. Immunity to diseases can fade over time, thus requiring a “booster.” And finally, as we age we become more susceptible to complications from common infections, such as influenza and pneumococcus.

Here are some tips to keep you and your family healthy:

  • Get your annual flu shot each fall.
  • You should talk to your health care provider about the MMR vaccine if you did not get the vaccine as a child.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the HPV vaccine if you are a woman through age 26 or if you are a man through age 21.
  • Get a tetanus booster every 10 years. As an adult, you also need one booster of the Tdap, which helps prevent whooping cough as well. Women should get a Tdap booster during each pregnancy. Not only does this protect you from a common illness that can be severe, but you also can help protect babies and young children who can die from this disease.
  • Starting at age 60, the CDC recommends the shingles vaccine — even if you have had shingles before.
  • There are two vaccinations used to prevent pneumococcal disease. Starting at age 65, the CDC recommends one dose of each, usually given one year apart. Depending on your medical conditions, you may need to get those vaccines even earlier. Talk to your health care provider to learn more.
  • If you are traveling outside the United States, you may need additional vaccines. Call 320-229-4917 to schedule an appointment with our Travel Medicine clinic.

Some vaccines may be given in clinic or it may be recommended due to insurance reasons that you get your vaccines at your pharmacy. This is something to discuss with your health care provider.

For more information on immunizations for adults and to view easy-to-read schedules, visit the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/adult/adult-schedule-easy-read.pdf.