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Frequently Asked Questions

Adult Vaccination

Some illnesses do not have a cure and all may cause serious health problems or even death. Vaccines are among the safest preventive medicines available. They are very effective and can prevent the suffering and costs associated with these illnesses.

Vaccination is as important for adults as it is for children, and yet many adults are not optimally vaccinated. Adults need vaccines because vaccine immunity (protection) may have diminished over time and a person will need a booster shot to enhance protection. There are also new vaccines, such as the shingles vaccine, that protect against diseases/conditions that develop in adults.

  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) booster and tetanus and diphtheria (Td) booster
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Chickenpox (varicella)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Pneumococcal
  • Shingles
  • Meningococcal

The following vaccines are recommended for adults :

  • Tdap/Td :
    • All adults need a tetanus and diphtheria (Td)booster shot every 10 years. Additionally, adults should substitute a tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccination for one Td booster.
    • Pregnant women need to get the Tdap vaccine with each pregnancy to pass protection to their baby against whooping cough. They should get the vaccine late in their pregnancy, preferable during the 27ththrough 36th week, to give the baby the most protection after birth.
  • MMR :
    • Adults born before 1957 who are not immune to measles, mumps, or rubella should be immunized.
  • HPV :
    • Adults aged 26 years or younger should be immunized against human papillomavirus (HPV), to reduce the chances of getting genital warts, cervical (females only), oral, and anal cancers.
  • Pneumococcat :
    • All adults aged 65 or older, as well as persons aged 2-64 years who have diabetes or chronic heart, lung, liver, or kidney disorders, need protection against pneumococcal disease.
  • Influenza (flu):
    • Flu vaccination is recommended for everyone aged six months and older. Certain adults are at greater risk and are encouraged to get a seasonal flu vaccine. These adults include pregnant women, adults of any age with certain chronic health conditions or special health care needs, health care professionals, household contacts and caregivers of kids, especially those in contact with babies under six months of age who are too young to get seasonal flu vaccine.
  • Hepatitis B:

This vaccine is recommended for adults in certain high-risk groups, such as:

    • Healthcare workers and public safety workers exposed to blood on the job.
    • Household and sexual contacts of persons with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.
    • Sexually active people who are not in long-term, mutually monogamous relationships.
    • People seeking evaluation or treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases.
    • Men who have sex with men.
    • Injection drug users.
    • Travelers to countries where HBV infection is common.
    • Persons with chronic conditions like diabetes, liver or kidney disease.
    • HIV-infected persons.
    • Anyone seeking protection from hepatitis B.

To increase vaccination rates among people at highest risk for HBV infection, hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all adults in the following settings:

    • STD treatment facilities.
    • Facilities providing drug abuse treatment and prevention services.
    • Healthcare settings targeting services to injection drug users or men who have sex with men.
    • Correctional facilities.
    • End-stage renal disease programs and facilities for chronic hemodialysis patients.
    • Institutions and non-residential child care facilities for persons with developmental disabilities
  • Hepatitis A:

Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for adults in certain high risk groups, including:

    • Travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common.
    • People with chronic liver disease.
    • People who have clotting-factor disorders, such as hemophilia.
    • Men who have sex with men.
    • Users of injection and non-injection illegal drugs.

Varicella vaccine is recommended for all adults, including:

    • Teachers of young children and child care workers.
    • Residents and staff in institutional settings.
    • Military personnel.
    • Non-pregnant women of childbearing age.
    • International travelers.
    • Healthcare workers.
    • Family members of persons with weakened immune systems that have not had chickenpox disease.

Meningococcal vaccine is recommended for:

    • Adults who do not have a spleen.
    • Adults who have terminal complement component deficiencies (immune system disorder).
    • First year college students living in dormitories.
    • Military recruits.
    • Certain laboratory workers.
    • Persons who travel to or live in countries in which meningococcal disease is common.
    • Adults aged 60 years and older should receive one dose of herpes zoster vaccine whether or not they have had shingles. Persons with chronic medical conditions may be vaccinated unless a contraindication or precaution exists for their condition.

Different vaccines are recommended at different ages throughout adulthood—for instance, the flu shot is recommended yearly, HPV is given at or before age 26 while shingles is given at age 60 or older. Some vaccines are one dose only for most adults (eg, pneumococcal, MMR) while others are a series of vaccines given over a short timespan (eg, HPV is given as three doses over six months). Influenza and Td/Tdap are given regularly throughout adulthood: you need influenza every year and Td once every 10 years, with Tdap in place of one Td booster. The best way to decide exactly what you need is to discuss it with your doctor or book an appointment for a consultation or an evaluation of your immunization status so that we can advise you accordingly.

If you would like us to review your immunization status, you will need to book an appointment for an evaluation or consultation. You will need to bring with you your vaccination booklet or any records that you may have on your previous vaccinations. The appointment for a consultation or an evaluation lasts usually about 30 to 40 minutes after which you will be receiving, during the same visit, the appropriate vaccines that you may need.

For the vaccines that are covered by Medicare, like for example tetanus, you will only have to pay for the administration of the vaccine by the nurse.

For the vaccines that are not covered by Medicare, like for example Zostavax for shingles, you will have to pay a fee that includes the cost of the vaccine as well as for the administration of the vaccine by the nurse.

If you want us to evaluate your immunization status and provide you with the appropriate recommendations as to what vaccines you will require, you will need to pay a fee for an evaluation or consultation.

However, if you come to us with a prescription by a physician for a specific vaccine you will not be charged a fee for an evaluation or consultation. In that case you will only be charged a fee for the vaccine (if that vaccine is not covered by Medicare) and for the administration of the vaccine by the nurse.

Yes, your immunization record is entered into both our electronic record-keeping system as well as in your vaccination booklet.

A permanent immunization record should be kept by every adult. It will help you and your doctor ensure that you are fully protected. It can also prevent revaccination during a health emergency or if you move or change doctors.

Vaccines are among the safest medical products available, and scientists are working to make sure they are made even safer. Every vaccine undergoes extensive testing before being licensed, and vaccine safety continues to be monitored as long as a vaccine is in use.

Most side effects from vaccination are minor, such as soreness where the injection was given or a low-grade fever. These side effects do not last long and are treatable.

Serious reactions are very rare. The tiny risk of a serious reaction from a vaccination has to be weighed against the very real risk of getting a dangerous vaccine-preventable disease or suffering complications from it.

Yes. Your can still get vaccinated if you have a mild illness, a low-grade fever, or if you are taking antibiotics.