The Washington Post

Adults need vaccinations, too

Did you know that adults should get a tetanus and diphtheria booster every 10 years? Or that people 60 and over should get a zoster vaccination to protect against shingles?

It’s relatively easy to keep track of kids’ vaccination schedules; most schools require students to be up to date on their shots before they walk in the door, and families who have relationships with a pediatrician or family doctor can usually rely on those physicians’ offices to maintain vaccination history records and issue reminders when new shots come due. But once we graduate from high school and outgrow our pediatricians, many of us are on our own when it comes to organizing our inoculations.

The CDC makes it a little easier for us by issuing each year (and publishing on its Web site) a schedule listing which adults need which vaccinations, and when. The agency released its updated guidelines Thursday, along with a report saying that most adults aren't getting all their recommended shots. Recommendations vary according to age, presence of various health conditions, previous vaccine history and other factors. The only shot recommended to be given annually to most adults is the influenza vaccine.

I’m sorry to report that in my experience, grownups aren’t offered stickers as rewards for getting our shots.


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