Sept. 27, 2017
As people age, they
know they should get an eye exam, have their cholesterol and blood pressure
checked, and get that colonoscopy. One more thing, say Texas physicians, is making
sure all vaccinations are up to date.
think of babies and school kids needing vaccinations,” said Lenore DePagter,
DO, an internal medicine specialist from McAllen and member of the Texas
Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Be Wise — ImmunizeSM Physician Advisory Panel. “But vaccines
aren’t just for kids. Over the years, as new vaccines have been developed,
recommended shots for adults have been added.”
Adults may need
as many as 10 vaccinations, according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), depending on their jobs, lifestyles, health, and
previous vaccination history. All adults need two vaccinations:
yearly flu shot.The CDC says nearly three-quarters of people hospitalized with flu-related
illness are 65 or older, and most flu deaths are among elderly people. A variety of flu vaccines are now
available: the traditional flu shot, a high-dose vaccine for people aged 65 and
older, and an intradermal vaccine that uses a smaller needle injected into the
skin instead of muscle. People should ask their doctor which is best.
Td vaccination every 10 years to prevent tetanus and diphtheria. One time
during adulthood, people should get Tdap vaccination
which also prevents pertussis (whooping cough) to protect babies they’ll be
around. Babies require a series of pertussis
vaccinations, so they’re not fully protected until close to 18 months of age. The
adult’s shot prevents him or her from passing potentially deadly whooping cough
to the infant. (Whooping cough is usually milder for adults, so adults might
not even know they have it.)
vaccinations are recommended for older adults:
which prevents diseases including infections in the lungs and bloodstream. About
1 million Americans get pneumococcal pneumonia each year according to the CDC,
and about half of them end up in the hospital. Two different shots are
recommended for anyone over age 65 and younger adults who have chronic health
which protects against shingles, a painful rash caused by the same
virus as chickenpox. Everyone over 60 years of age needs this one-time
vaccination as risk increases with age. The shot can protect even those who
have had shingles from another attack.
“As we age,
fighting off illness becomes more difficult,” said Dr. DePagter. “Vaccinations
provide a boost to our immune systems to help prevent certain diseases, several
of which can land someone in the hospital — and even be deadly.”
Whether a young
adult or someone in the prime of their life, people need adult vaccinations recommended by the
CDC. Physicians suggest
individuals check with their doctor to see if all vaccinations are up to date. The
CDC has this quick adult vaccine quiz to find out what patients should discuss
with their doctor.
older adults have Medicare coverage, which pays for recommended vaccinations. Other
insurance companies should pay for vaccinations at no cost to the patient. People
who are uninsured might be eligible for vaccinations through the Texas Adult
has published an infographic about adult vaccinations, in English and Spanish.
TMA is the largest state
medical society in the nation, representing more than 50,000 physician and
medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county
medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to
improve the health of all Texans.
TMA actively works to improve
immunization rates in Texas through its
Be Wise — ImmunizeSM
program. Be Wise works with local communities to give free and low-cost shots
to Texans, and educate people about the importance of vaccination. More than 315,000
shots have been given to Texas children, adolescents, and adults through the Be
Wise program since 2004.
Be Wise — Immunize is a joint initiative led by TMA physicians, medical
students, and the TMA Alliance. It is funded by TMA Foundation thanks to major
gifts from H-E-B and TMF Health Quality Institute, along with generous
contributions from physicians and their families.
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Be Wise —
Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.
Contact: Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org
Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512)
650-5336; email: marcus.cooper[at]texmed[dot]org
with TMA on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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