Yesterday on The PediaBlog, we looked at the 2018 child immunization schedule just released by the CDC and AAP. The CDC also just released the 2018 schedule for adult immunizations. Three years ago we did a series on adult vaccines and finished it with these tips for protecting adults and the rest of the herd against vaccine-preventable diseases:

  • Vaccines are important. Protect yourself and the ones you love.
  • Shots hurt. Get over it.
  • Keep your children up-to-date with their immunizations. Bucking the standard of care and refusing to vaccinate based on fear and nonsensical hearsay hurts everyone in the herd, most of all your own precious children.
  • Make sure you are up-to-date on your vaccines. Dig up your records, ask your mother, and ask your doctor! (Or maybe you’ll need to start by identifying a doctor or clinic as your PCP and then make an appointment and go!)
  • Keep records of your immunizations handy so you, or any provider who cares for you, knows what immunizations you need to stay up-to-date.

 

The big change this year for adults is the preference for using the new recombinant herpes zoster vaccine to prevent shingles (Shingrix) instead of the older, less effective herpes zoster live vaccine (Zostavax). Anyone who has had it says you don’t want shingles:

Herpes Zoster (Shingles) occurs years-to-decades after having varicella (chickenpox). The virus lives deep in nerve ganglia where it waits for a person’s immune system to, however briefly, drop. The virus then travels along nerve fibers, causing an intense burning pain, before emerging on the skin in a painful and itchy rash that lasts weeks-to-months. “It’s horrible,” says everyone.

 

While a single dose of Zostavax can still be given beginning at 60 years of age, Shingrix is now the preferred vaccine to prevent shingles. It should be given beginning at age 50 in 2 doses administered 2-6 months apart. Adults 50 and older who have unfortunately experienced a bout of shingles, and those who already received Zostavax in the past, should still look forward to getting a shot of Shingrix at the next visit with their primary care physician, with the second dose 2-6 months later.

The 2018 immunization schedule reminds adults 19 years old and above to get a tetanus shot every 10 years. (If you don’t remember when your last one was, you’re probably due.) And don’t forget to get an annual flu vaccine! Remember: you are protecting yourself AND the herd.

Read more about immunizations adults need in our series “Guide To Adult Vaccines” starting here.

 

*** On January 22, 2018, Pediatric Alliance and some of our pediatric colleagues from around the United States began participating in an 8-week AAP-sponsored immunization advocacy campaign on social media. Please follow all our social media posts during this project on Facebook and Twitter.

 

(Google Images)