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Senior Citizen's Guide to South Jersey

It’s Never too Late to Vaccinate
What you need to know about Adult Immunizations

Pediatric immunization programs in the United States have been quite successful against a range of contagious diseases, including measles, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, and poliomyelitis; fewer than 500 children die in the US each year of vaccine preventable diseases.

However, healthy adults also require regular immunizations. As many as 50,000 to 70,000 adults die annually of pneumonia and influenza in the United States, which could be greatly reduced with vaccinations.  This is more than HIV/AIDS, breast cancer or traffic accidents. Receiving appropriate immunizations plays a crucial role in protecting health throughout the lifetime.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccinations from birth through adulthood to provide a lifetime of protection against many diseases and infections, such as influenza, pneumococcal disease, varicella (chicken pox), measles, mumps, rubella, and hepatitis A and B. Yet most adults are not vaccinated as recommended, leaving them needlessly vulnerable to illness and long-term suffering.

Adult vaccination recommendations include:

Additional vaccinations may be required based on medical need, so check with your health care provider to find out the specific vaccine recommendations for you. 

As adults, we are often the caretakers of children and the elderly.  When you get sick, your children, grandchildren and parents are at risk, too.  In general, vaccine-preventable diseases are more serious for the very young and the very old. So it’s not only important to stay healthy to protect yourself, but also to protect your children, your grandchildren and the older people in your life, too.

Vaccines are safe and can save you money.  The potential risks associated with the diseases that vaccines prevent are much greater than the potential risks from the vaccines themselves.  The illnesses that the vaccines prevent can cost over $10 billion per year in direct medical costs and indirect societal costs, such as lost workdays. Looking at influenza as an example makes it easy to see why these illnesses are so expensive. An uncomplicated influenza illness can last up to 15 days, with restricted activity for five to six days, including three or four days of bed rest.

Vaccines are as important to your overall health as diet and exercise. Like eating right, exercising and getting regular screenings for diseases such as colon and breast cancer, vaccines can also play a vital role in keeping you healthy. Vaccines are one of the simplest, most convenient preventive care measures available.

For a complete listing of vaccines and for more information please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov or contact your local health department.

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