Vaccines are not just for kids

Published Oct 29, 2017 at 9:00am

With fall and winter time, comes the worry about the seasonal flu.

This is the perfect time to discuss the importance of vaccines.

Despite a commonly spread myth that shots are just for kids, adults actually need their vaccinations as well.

In fact, everyone six months of age and older should be getting a flu vaccine every year to help protect them from getting sick.

Other important vaccines to consider are the Tdap and TD (tetanus) vaccines.

A vaccine is an easy preventative measure you can take to protect not only your health, but the health of your greater community, especially infants, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals who are in some cases unable to get vaccinated.

Herd immunity is a term used to describe this concept, where a critical portion of the community is vaccinated against a contagious disease, creating little opportunity for outbreak and therefore protecting the few who could not be vaccinated.

What is the flu vaccine?

There are three main versions of the flu vaccine:

Traditional flu shot – This is a good standard option for a yearly flu vaccine.

High dose flu shot – A version of the flu vaccine specially tailored for those ages 65 and older, with extra flu virus antigens.

Flublok – A version of the flu vaccine specially tailored for those with egg allergies.

It should be noted that the version of the flu vaccine delivered through nasal spray is no longer recommended by doctors.

What is Tdap? 

Tdap is a vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also known as whooping cough).

People only need a Tdap vaccine once in a lifetime, but should be following up that Tdap shot with a TD (tetanus) shot once every ten years.

Pregnant women are an exception to this, and will need a Tdap vaccination in the third trimester of each pregnancy to protect their babies from whooping cough.

What is TD?

TD is a vaccine that protects against tetanus and diphtheria. It is recommended to be taken once every 10 years if you are healthy, and very shortly after getting a severe or dirty wound that could potentially result in tetanus. Tetanus is a painful disease resulting in lockjaw and possibly death if left untreated, and diphtheria is a disease resulting in a thick coating in the back of the throat that can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, or death.

Have a question on immunizations? Contact the Oneida County Health Department at
315-798-5747.