Vaccines are an important part of keeping kids healthy but did you know that adults need vaccines, too? Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, your protection from certain diseases wears off. All adults need a yearly influenza vaccine. Get one dose of tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccine if you did not get it as an adolescent. Then, get tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccine every 10 years after that. Adults also need vaccines at certain ages, like human papilloma virus (HPV), measles mumps rubella (MMR), zoster (shingles), and pneumococcal vaccines. You may also need varicella (chickenpox) vaccine if you never had chickenpox and haven’t been vaccinated against it.
Pregnant women should get an influenza and whooping cough (Tdap) vaccine. Pregnant women can get very ill from influenza, which can lead to hospitalizations and death. Whooping cough is a very contagious disease that can be deadly for babies. Influenza vaccine can be received any time during pregnancy, and the whooping cough vaccine should be received near the end of pregnancy (third trimester). Getting these vaccines during pregnancy will better protect the baby against these diseases in the first months of their life.
You may need additional vaccines if you have long term health conditions, are traveling outside of the United States, or because of other factors that put you at risk of disease. Talk to your health care provider about vaccines you may need.
Don’t let cost stop you from getting vaccinated. Most health insurance plans now pay for the cost of recommended vaccines. Call the number on the back of your insurance card if you are not sure about your plan. If you don’t have health insurance or if your insurance doesn’t pay for certain vaccines, you can receive free or low-cost shots at certain clinics located throughout Minnesota. Find a participating clinic at www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/immunize/adultvax/clinicsearch.html.
For more information on what vaccines you may need, visit www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/immunize/adult/adultsneed.html.