Think of vaccines and you might envision teary-eyed kids at the doctor’s office or flu clinic getting a cartoon character bandage on their arm after getting a shot. But there are plenty of reasons adults should get vaccines too.
The vaccines you need as an adult depend on everything from your age and lifestyle to high-risk medical conditions, travel plans, and which shots you’ve had in the past.
“Vaccination is as important for adults as it is for children, and yet many adults are not optimally...
Anyone can get influenza, but rates of infection are highest among children.
For most people, it lasts only a few days. It can cause:
Some people get much sicker. Influenza can lead to pneumonia and can be
dangerous for people with heart or breathing conditions. It can cause high
fever, diarrhea, and seizures in children. On average, 226,000 people are
hospitalized every year because of influenza and 36,000 die – mostly
Live, attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) contains live but attenuated
(weakened) influenza virus. It is sprayed into the nostrils.
Inactivated influenza vaccine, sometimes called the “flu shot,” is given by
injection. Inactivated influenza vaccine is described in a separate Vaccine
Influenza viruses are always changing. Because of this, influenza vaccines
are updated every year, and an annual vaccination is recommended.
Each year scientists try to match the viruses in the vaccine to those most
likely to cause flu that year. When there is a close match the vaccine protects
most people from serious influenza-related illness. But even when the there is
not a close match, the vaccine provides some protection.
Influenza vaccine will not prevent “influenza-like” illnesses caused by
other viruses. It takes up to 2 weeks for protection to develop after the
vaccination. Protection lasts up to a year.
LAIV does not contain thimerosal or other preservatives.
3. Who can get LAIV?
LAIV is approved for people from 2 through 49 years of age, who are not
pregnant and do not have certain health conditions (see #4, below). Influenza
recommended for people who can spread influenza to others at high risk, such
Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children up to 5 years of
age, and people 50 and older.
Physicians and nurses, and family members or anyone else in close contact
with people at risk of serious influenza.
Health care providers may also recommend a yearly influenzavaccination
People who provide essential community services.
People living in dormitories, correctional facilities, or under other
crowded conditions, to prevent outbreaks.
Influenza vaccine is also recommended for anyone who wants to reduce the
likelihood of becoming ill with influenza or spreading influenza to others.
4. Some people should not get LAIV
LAIV is not licensed for everyone. The following people should get the
inactivated vaccine (flu shot) instead:
Adults 50 years of age and older or children between 6 months and 2 years
of age. (Children younger than 6 months should not get either influenza
Children younger than 5 with asthma or one or more episodes of wheezing
within the past year.
People who have long-term health problems with:
kidney or liver disease
metabolic disease, such as diabetes
anemia, and other blood disorders
Anyone with certain muscle or nerve disorders (such as seizure disorders or
cerebral palsy) that can lead to breathing or swallowing problems.
Anyone with a weakened immune system.
Children or adolescents on long-term aspirin treatment.