Adult Immunization Schedule
What immunizations do adults need?
Immunizations help protect you from serious, preventable diseases. Keeping up to date with immunizations helps you stay healthy. As an adult, you need to be immunized against tetanus and diphtheria. Depending on your age and health, you may also need protection against influenza (flu), hepatitis, measles, rubella, chickenpox, or streptococcal (pneumococcal) pneumonia. The shots do not guarantee that you will not get sick with these illnesses, but they make it much less likely. They also reduce the risk of severe infection or death.
Bacteria that enter your body through a break in the skin can cause tetanus. Tetanus is a disease that can be fatal, but it is easy to prevent by keeping up to date on your shots.
Diphtheria, also caused by bacteria, can cause serious problems when the bacteria release a poison into the bloodstream.
Flu is a viral infection that causes symptoms such as fever, headaches, body aches and pains, sore throat, and cough. It is very easily passed from one person to another. People who get flu then often develop pneumonia. Many older adults die each year from complications of flu.
Pneumococcal disease is an infection (often pneumonia) caused by a certain type of bacteria. The bacteria can infect the lungs (pneumonia), blood (bacteremia), or the covering of the brain (meningitis). The vaccine does not prevent pneumonia caused by other types of infection.
When should I get the shots?
The following is the recommended schedule for adult immunizations:
You need a 3-shot/injection series of the tetanus/diphtheria (Td) vaccine if you did not get the 3 shots as a child.
The second shot is given 4 to 8 weeks after the first shot.
The third shot is given 6 to 12 months later.
One of the above doses should include protection against pertussis (Whooping Cough). This is called Tdap.
You need a tetanus booster shot at least every 10 years. If you have a cut, scrape, bite, puncture wound, or injury needing stitches, you should get a tetanus booster shot if it has been more than 10 years since your last shot or if you do not remember when you last had a shot.
If you are older than 65, you should get a flu shot every year.
People who are younger than 65 should also have a flu shot if they have a chronic disease or want to avoid the flu.
Healthcare workers should also have the flu shot.
If a woman is planning to become pregnant during the flu season, she should have a flu shot.
When there is a shortage of flu vaccine, these recommendations for who should get a shot may change.
October is the best time to get the flu shot.
If you think you are allergic to eggs, talk to your health care provider before getting this shot.
In Nova Scotia, the flu vaccine is available free of charge to all residents.
In Prince Edward Island, the vaccine is free of charge to all residents, however administration of the vaccine is not covered except for:
· Health children 6 to 59 months of age
· Pregnant women
· Persons 65 years and older
· Residents of nursing homes or chronic care facilities
· Health care workers
You should get this shot if you are 65 or older. The shot is also recommended for adults who have chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or heart, kidney, or lung problems.
What about other immunizations?
Other shots you may need are:
If you have never had chickenpox and are not immune a series of 2 shots of the varicella vaccine given at least 4 weeks apart is recommended.
This common childhood disease can be more serious in adults than in children.
This vaccine is recommended for people:
· With chronic liver disease
· With occupational risks such as healthcare and emergency workers
· With high risk behaviors such as multiple sexual partners and intravenous drug use,
· For those who have been exposed to the disease and require post-exposure protection.
The hepatitis B vaccine is given as a 3-shot series. The second shot is given 1 month after the first. The third shot is given 6 months after the first.
If you have been exposed to the hepatitis virus, your health care provider will check your level of protection with a blood test. If your level is low, a booster shot is given.
Hepatitis B can be combined with Hepatitis A in a combination vaccine. Ask your provider if you need this series of shots.
This shot/vaccine is recommended if you were born after 1970 and have not had the vaccine or the diseases. Adults born before 1970 may be considered to be immune to measles.
Women who have not had rubella and did not get the MMR shot as a child should have the shot before they become pregnant.
Women should avoid getting pregnant for at least 28 days after the shot.
If a woman is not immune to rubella and becomes infected with the rubella virus during pregnancy, the baby could also become infected. The infection could cause severe birth defects.
This vaccine protects against meningitis. The shot is recommended for people who have a weakened immune system or who do not have a spleen. It consists of one shot.
Travel to some countries requires or recommends that you to be immunized against typhoid, hepatitis A, and other diseases.
The shots you need vary for different countries.
Your health care provider or travel health clinic can advise you.
Where can I get the shots?
You can get the shots from your health care provider or Travel health clinics.
For additional information visit Health Canada’s website: http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/healthy-living-vie-saine/immunization-immunisation/children-enfants/schedule-calendrier-eng.php?_ga=1.243009794.1223394645.1432212509