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Vaccines as Part of Preventative Health

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Recommended Protection, Shot by Shot

Some of the other vaccines recommended for adults include the following:

  • Pneumococcal. Recommended for adults 65 and older in general, and people age 50 and older who are living in areas where the risk for invasive pneumococcal disease is increased. Also recommended for younger people with certain chronic diseases, weakened immune systems, and those who smoke or are residents of nursing home or long-term care facilities. The vaccine protects against complications like pneumonia, meningitis, or infection of the blood caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. A one-time booster may be given after five years for some people.
  • Shingles. Recommended for adults 60 and over, this shot protects against shingles, the painful reactivation of chickenpox virus that lurks in our nerve cells. The risk of shingles grows as we age; young people rarely get shingles, but you have a 50-50 chance of getting it by age 85. The vaccine cuts the risk of the disease in half and further reduces the chance of developing post-shingles pain called postherpetic neuralgia that can be chronic and debilitating.  
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV). This vaccine is recommended for women 19 to 26 years old. There are more than 100 types of HPV, and the HPV vaccine can help protect against infection from types responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. One of the available HPV vaccines can also protect against HPV types that cause the majority of genital warts in men and women.  
  • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR). Though most people in the U.S. are vaccinated as children, it’s a good idea for adults to get the MMR shot if they don’t have documentation of vaccination, evidence of immunity, past disease, or a medical reason not to be vaccinated. Infections can lead to serious complications.
  • Meningococcal. Meningococcal disease is life-threatening. People at greater risk for infection include teenagers and young adults, especially those living in dormitories or military barracks. It is recommended for all first-year college students living in dormitories, military recruits, people with certain medical conditions, and people traveling or working in certain areas who haven't previously received the vaccine.
  • Hepatitis A. This vaccine is recommended for men who have sex with men, people with chronic liver disease, people who use injectable drugs, people working with the virus in a research setting, and people traveling to endemic area. Hepatitis B is recommended for people who are sexually active and not in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship, persons with history of sexually transmitted diseases or those seeking evaluation for an STD, people with current or recent history of injection drug use, persons with chronic liver disease, end-stage kidney disease, HIV, and those who are risk for exposure, such as health care workers and those who are close contacts of people with chronic hepatitis B infection.

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Reviewed on March 09, 2011

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