Vaccinations have played a role in preventing serious diseases and safeguarding public health for hundreds of years. That said, immunization practices have changed dramatically since the 15th century. Still, the concept remains the same: exposing healthy people to a specific disease to inoculate them.
Even though vaccines are life-saving, it's easy to lose track of when you or your loved ones last received them. Some people mistakenly believe that vaccinations are primarily for children. But vaccine protection can wane over time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a recommended schedule of vaccines just for adults.
Here’s a closer look at the importance of keeping your vaccinations up-to-date.
Vaccinations remain crucial throughout your life to ensure immunity to preventable diseases. As you age, the effectiveness of some vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, can diminish. This means it's necessary to receive booster shots to maintain protection.
The Dr. Bamba's Health and Medical Center team adheres to the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Common adult vaccines include:
All adults should receive an annual flu vaccine. The flu virus changes yearly, so the vaccine is updated to protect against the current strains.
A Tdap booster is recommended every 10 years to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Some people may benefit from more frequent vaccination against whooping cough. Pregnant women should receive this vaccine during each pregnancy. Partners, or anyone else who is caring for your baby, should also receive this vaccine.
The shingles vaccine is recommended for adults over 50 or adults over 19 with compromised immune systems. There are different types of shingles vaccines, and Dr. Bamba can determine which suits you.
These vaccines protect against pneumococcal disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. They are recommended for adults over 65, but younger adults with certain risk factors may also benefit.
Like the shingles vaccine, there are multiple pneumococcal vaccines, including pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs, specifically PCV15 and PCV20) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23).
While typically given to adolescents, the HPV vaccine may be recommended for certain adults (aged 26 or younger) if they haven't previously been vaccinated.
To determine if your vaccinations are up-to-date, check with Dr. Bamba. As a primary care provider, she reviews your vaccination history (for you and your children). She recommends any necessary vaccines based on your age, health status, and risk factors.
If you’ve received vaccines at another location, request your vaccination records from your previous health care provider and keep them in a safe place. These records help you and Dr. Bamba track your immunization history.
Some online platforms and smartphone apps offer tools for tracking your vaccinations. You can enter your vaccination history and set reminders for future vaccines. This is convenient if you have multiple children and need to keep track of annual vaccinations for the entire family.
Staying up-to-date with vaccinations is a responsible and proactive approach to safeguarding your health, your children’s health, and the health of your community. Regular booster shots and age-appropriate vaccines are essential components of preventive health care.
If you're uncertain about your vaccination status or know you’re due for a booster, call 443-493-7760 to schedule your appointment with Dr. N'Dama Bamba. Or click here to schedule an annual exam at our Glen Burnie, Maryland, office.