NEVER TOO LATE TO VACCINATE
So we all know that infants and children have a lot of different vaccinations that they need to obtain as they get older, but what about adults? Part of the adult wellness physical exams in my office and other physician offices across the country are dedicated to discussing vaccinations meant for the "less young" population. Here is what you should know:
Get the Flu Shot: EVERY YEAR. Sure, some years the flu shot does a better job than other years, but it's very hard to argue against the studies that show it protects people of all ages against the flu.
Prevnar-13: This is one of two different pneumonia shots that every adult over 65 years of age should get. The best thing about this one is that you just get it once and there is no need for a booster or revaccination at any point.
Pneumovax: This shot needs to be at least one full year before or after your Prevnar-13 and then EVERY 5 YEARS after that. This vaccination inoculates patients against pneumonia causing bacteria that are NOT covered in the Prevnar-13 vaccination.
Shingrix (aka The Shingles Shot): It is indicated to be given to adults as young as age 50. After receiving the first Shingrix shot, you will need a repeat shot between 60 days and up to 180 days from receiving the first shot. The previous "shingles shot" known as Zostavax is only ~50% effective at preventing shingles. The Shingrix vaccination, however, is >90% effective. Most insurances, including Medicare, cover this vaccination and patients who have gotten the "old shingles shot" should get the Shingrix as well. Unfortunately, there is currently a nationwide shortage due to the shot's demand, but the manufacturer is currently working hard to try to make more vaccine.
Lastly, if you get your vaccinations at a pharmacy instead of at your doctor's office then please have your pharmacist either send a record to your doctor letting him/her know what vaccinations you've received or write the name of the specific shots and date you received them down so you can tell your doctor yourself.
One night a Viking named Rudolph the Red looked out the window and told his wife, "It looks like it is going to rain." His wife asked, "How do you know that?" He replied, "Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear."