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Did you know you need vaccines throughout your life? Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, the protection from some vaccines you received can wear off over time and you may need a booster. There also are specific vaccines that you may need as you get older based on your age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions.

In the United States, vaccines have greatly reduced infectious diseases that once routinely harmed or killed many infants, children, and adults. However, the viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable disease still exist and can cause illness in people who are not protected by vaccines. Every year, tens of thousands of Americans still suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, and even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines.

Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other medical experts update vaccine recommendations for children, teens, and adults based on the latest research and evidence-based science on vaccine safety, effectiveness, and patterns of vaccine-preventable diseases. Make sure you and your loved ones are up to date on recommended vaccines.

Here’s why you shouldn’t wait:

  • Many vaccine-preventable diseases are still common in the U.S.
  • Those that are not common here are still found in other parts of the world, and can still be a threat.
  • Some of these diseases are very contagious.
  • Any of these diseases could be serious – even for healthy people.
  • Certain people may be at higher risk for getting some diseases or having more serious illness if they were to get sick, like young children, older adults, and those with health conditions.

Shingles

About one out of every three people will get shingles in their lifetime. Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox still has the virus in their body. It stays in the body in an inactive (dormant) state, but can become active again later in life and cause shingles. You have a greater chance of getting shingles when you’re older, which is why the shingles vaccine is recommended for everyone 50 years and older.

What Everyone Should Know About the New Shingles Vaccine

Shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a severe pain which can remain long after the shingles rash has cleared up. This pain is the most common complication from shingles. A new shingles vaccine called Shingrix was licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017. CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of Shingrix, 2 to 6 months apart. Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and PHN. Two doses of Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN.  Shingrix is the preferred vaccine, over Zostavax. Even people who have had shingles or previously got the Zostavax can be vaccinated with Shingrix to prevent shingles and the complications caused by the disease. If you had Zostavax in the recent past, you should wait at least eight weeks before getting Shingrix.

You have the power to protect yourself and the ones you love. The MDPH Immunization Program encourages all adults to talk to their healthcare professional about which vaccines are right for them – and get vaccinated.

The good news is that getting vaccinated is easier than you think. Adults can get vaccinated at doctors’ offices, pharmacies, workplaces, health clinics and health departments. Visit vaccine.healthmap.org to help find a vaccine provider near you. Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines – a call to your insurance provider can give you the details.

 To learn more about vaccines and take a quick quiz to find out which vaccines you may need, visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults

Written By:


Immunization Outreach Coordinator in the Bureau of Infectious Disease

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