When we think of vaccines, we typically think of babies and toddlers getting shots at the pediatrician’s office. And while it’s true that the majority of immunizations we receive during childhood are enough to protect us for a lifetime, we never truly outgrow the need for vaccines. According to the CDC, there are certain situations that can warrant vaccination in adults. They include:
- Adults who did not receive vaccinations as a child
- The release of new vaccines that were not available when some adults were children
- Immunity that has faded over time
- Age or chronic conditions that can compromise immunity and leave adults susceptible to complications from vaccine-preventable illnesses
August is National Immunization Awareness Month, which is a great time to talk to your doctor about any immunizations or boosters you may need. Even if you received all your vaccines as a child, your doctor may recommend other immunizations based on your age, lifestyle, occupation and health history. This is also a great opportunity to talk to your doctor about new vaccines that may apply to you.
New vaccines are in always in the process of being developed, and one of the more exciting developments is a vaccine that could possibly prevent colon cancer. Mary (Nora) Disis, M.D., and her team of researchers are working to identify genes that will allow immune cells to target and kill newly-developed cancer cells. So far, they have identified a few hundred genes that have the potential for a prevention vaccine. Disis says her team is still several years away from having a vaccine that is safe to use in human clinical trials. However, if their efforts are successful, this vaccine could be extremely useful for patients who have a family history of colon cancer or polyps, or those who have polyposis syndrome (Source: StopColonCancerNow.com).
Immunizations are important for people of all ages, so let National Immunization Awareness Month encourage you to stay current with your vaccines. Get started by taking the CDC’s What Vaccines Do You Need quiz. Then print off your results to help guide your discussion during your next doctor’s appointment.