Immunization, Not Just For Kids!

Dr Ben Onifade

15th Mar, 2016



Yes, today is world’s immunization day; a lot of youths out there think immunization is just for the kids. NO, adults have a fair dose of vaccines to take as well and that is what I’ll be shining some light on today.

There are a number of reasons why adults may need to be vaccinated against a disease. This include

  • They weren’t vaccinated as a child.
  • The childhood vaccine may have worn off.
  • The vaccine isn’t needed until later in life.
  • The vaccine changes on a regular basis.

Here are a number of vaccines that would benefit us even as adults

  • Typhoid Vaccine.

Most Nigerians are not aware of the existence of this vaccine. It doesn’t just exist; it is readily available even in Nigeria, all thanks to some Pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline [GSK]. In fact most of the vaccines I’ll be talking about today are made available in Nigeria by GSK.

This is an active immunization against typhoid fever. It can be taken by adults and children above the age of 2years. A single dose is recommended initially. This can be repeated every 3 years as immunity wears off with time.

  • Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus [DTP].

Most people are vaccinated against these diseases in childhood. However, the protection can wear off. Therefore, teens usually get one dose of DTP between the ages of 11 and 18. A second DTP should then be given between ages 19 and 64. After that, a DTP booster shot should be given every 10 years.

  • Hepatitis vaccines.

As common and as deadly [especially the hepatitis B and C] as these viral illnesses, people are not aware of the availability of the vaccines. These vaccines are generally offered to adults at high risk of infection. Individuals can however request for it. The vaccines are very safe. They are currently recommended as standard childhood vaccinations. However, many adults have never received them.

The hepatitis B vaccine is given in three doses over six months.

The hepatitis A vaccine is given in two doses over six to 18 months.

There is currently no Hepatitis C vaccine.

  • Pneumococcal vaccine.

All adults over age 65 should get one dose of the pneumococcal vaccine. This vaccine protects against infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. This can cause Pneumonia, Meningitis, Otitis media amongst other diseases.
This vaccine is also recommended for certain other groups of adults, including: sickle cell champions, long-term health problems, compromised immune systems, asthma, and a history of smoking.
High-risk individuals should get one or two doses of the vaccine. It can be given any time after age 2.

  • Chicken Pox [Varicella].

If you never had chickenpox as a child, you may want to get the varicella vaccine. Chickenpox can be a serious illness in adults. The varicella vaccine is given in two doses.

  • Herpes Zoster [Shingles].

Shingles is caused by a reemergence of the virus that causes chickenpox (varicella zoster virus).
The onetime shingles vaccine is recommended for adults over age 60. You should get the vaccine even if you had chickenpox as a child.
Some individuals are more at risk for developing shingles. In particular, the disease often affects people with compromised immune systems. This includes people with cancer or HIV, those using steroids or immunosuppressant.

It I also important to mention the availability of malaria vaccine, though still under clinical trials and it would hopefully soon be available for use.

A stitch in time saves nine. Get vaccinated today and protect yourself against infections and cancers. Do not hesitate to tell others about immunization, one easy way to do that is to share this article.

Happy Immunization day!

Image credit:Internet



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