November 06, 2014 Healthy Living

Ask Your Doctor About Annual Vaccines

While vaccinating children is commonplace in the United States, few adults know they need vaccines, too, and even fewer are fully vaccinated. Are you one of the millions of adults unaware of which vaccines you need?

Each year, tens of thousands of adults needlessly suffer, are hospitalized, and even die as a result of diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey showed that most U.S. adults are not even aware that they need vaccines throughout their lives to protect against diseases like the flu, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis, shingles, and pneumococcal disease. Take charge of your health and help protect those around you by asking about vaccines at your next doctor visit.

Not only can vaccine-preventable diseases make you sick, you may risk spreading certain diseases to others. Infants, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases. They are also more likely to have severe illness and complications if they do get sick. You can help protect your health and the health of your loved ones by getting your recommended vaccines.

The good news is that getting vaccinated is easier than you think. Adults can get vaccines at doctors’ offices, pharmacies, workplaces, health clinics, and health departments.

Not sure which vaccines to get?

All adults should get the following:

  • Annual flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu
  • Td/Tdap to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis

Some additional vaccines you may need (depending on your age, health conditions, and other factors) include:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Meningococcal
  • Pneumococcal
  • Shingles

CDPHP® provides a complete list of recommended screenings and vaccines for all ages.

Get your flu shot

Did you know that you might be able to get a nasal spray to protect against the flu? The nasal spray or a simple flu shot can greatly reduce your chances of coming down with the flu or passing it along to others.

Flu shots are a good idea for just about anyone older than 6 months and are particularly recommended for:

  • Adults ages 50 and older
  • Children ages 6 months through 4 years
  • Women who are pregnant or will become pregnant during the flu season
  • People who have chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, or asthma
  • People at high risk for serious complications
  • Caregivers of children younger than 5 or adults ages 50 and older

Many CDPHP network pharmacies, including CVS and Price Chopper, can administer no-cost flu shots to adult CDPHP members. Ask your pharmacist about this convenient option.

CDPHP covers the cost of most recommended vaccines. Call the member services number on the back of your ID card for help finding a vaccine provider near you and for specific information on what your policy covers. Also, speak with your primary care provider today about what vaccines are recommended for you so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Alexa Kerins
About the Author

Alexa is a senior communications consultant at CDPHP who plans, writes, and edits communications for a variety of projects. She is an eternal optimist who likes good food, fun exercise classes, traveling, and spending quality time with her family and friends. You can often find her obsessing over her mini golden doodle and uttering cheesy quotes like “you’re the bee’s knees” and “team work makes the dream work."

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