Adults Should Get the Immunizations They Need

Hotel Voice — October 20, 2015

Dr. Robert Greenspan

Immunizations are not only for children! Everyone should be vaccinated, regardless of age. In fact, in New York City 99% of the deaths that could be prevented by vaccination now occur in adults, not children. Everyone — infants, children, adolescents, adults, and older people — all need regular immunizations to stay healthy.

Some adults incorrectly believe that the vaccines they received as children will protect them for the rest of their lives. In some cases this is true, but there are other facts to consider:

  • Some adults were never vaccinated as children
  • Newer vaccines were not available when some adults were children
  • Immunity can begin to fade over time

As we age, we become more susceptible to serious diseases caused by common infections like flu and pneumonia. That’s why you and your doctor should consider the following vaccinations:

  • Young women between 11 and 26 years of age should be immunized against human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • If your child is going off to college and is going to be living in a dormitory, you should have him/her vaccinated against meningococcal disease (meningitis).
  • Everyone should receive a yearly flu shot for protection against influenza.
  • If you have certain risk factors you should be immunized against Hepatitis A and B
  • If you were born after 1957 you need at least one dose of MMR to protect you from Measles, Mumps and Rubella.
  • If you have never had chickenpox or if you were never completely vaccinated (one dose or less) you should complete a two-dose series of Varicella vaccine.
  • If you have never had at least 3 shots containing tetanus and diphtheria, you should get them now. In addition, all adults need another tetanus and diphtheria (Td) shot or booster every 10 years. If you are younger than 65, and as an adult you haven’t had a vaccine that contains pertussis (whooping cough) one of the doses that you receive should have pertussis vaccine in it.  This vaccine is known as Tdap.
  • If you are 60 or older you should get the Zoster vaccine to prevent shingles.
  • If you have certain chronic medical conditions or if you are 65 or older you should receive the pneumococcal vaccine to prevent certain types of pneumonia

This may seem like it is a lot to know. That’s why one among the best things you can do is have an annual checkup with your primary care physician or attend Men’s or Women’s Health Weeks at the Health Centers and discuss preventative medicine with your physician. Please note that most insurance companies do not cover all of these vaccinations. But because your health and the health of your family members are important to us, the Health Centers will cover all of these immunizations. Please take advantage of this benefit; it may literally save your life!

(Editor’s note: Dr. Robert Greenspan is the Chief Executive Officer of the Hotel Trades Council and Hotel Association of New York Benefit Funds.)