Adult Immunizations: Are You Protected?
The flu vaccine, tetanus boosters, hepatitis shots -- why adults still need vaccinations.
Future Adult Vaccines
In addition to the vaccinations above, a few vaccines are likely to be
. Shingles is a painful disease caused by the varicella virus, which
also causes chickenpox A new vaccine for
shingles -- Zostavax -- is actually just a double dose of the chickenpox
vaccine. As of May 2006 it has not yet been FDA-approved.
"The initial report on the shingles vaccine is very encouraging,"
says Wasserman. "Shingles is a terrible disease, especially for older
Many other vaccines are in much earlier stages of development,
- Strep: Some preliminary research into a vaccine against
Group A streptococcus shows promise. One study found that, in a group of 28
healthy adults, the vaccine seemed safe and appeared to trigger an immune
Herpes: Researchers are also working on
vaccines against genital herpes. Two 2002
studies found that one vaccine radically reduced the rate of herpes infection
in women who were not previously infected with the virus. However, in women who
already had the common herpes virus that causes cold sores the vaccine had no
effect. Strangely, the vaccine had no effect in men.
Taking Charge of Your Health
Given the importance of regular adult vaccinations it's crucial to keep
track of your immunization history and stay current with your vaccinations.
Unfortunately, many people don't. They simply assume their doctor will tell
them when they need a shot, but that's not necessarily the case. Most people
change doctors many times in their lives and their current doctor may have no
idea about their immunization history.
So from now on, make a note when you get a vaccination. If don't know which
vaccinations you've had recently, talk to your doctor. To be on the safe side,
it may be time for you to roll up that sleeve, stick out your arm, and