The reemergence of
"Our mission is promoting timely
Once confined to children and seniors, the recommended vaccines and available antidotes change constantly, and many now include immunizations for adults. For example, the
Also, both pre-teens and young adults can benefit from the relatively new
Though Virginia is "doing OK" with its vaccination rate, according to Charters, it's still important for all adults to keep current with immunizations, not only for their own health, but to protect others. While most vaccine-preventable diseases, such as
"A lot don't see themselves as at risk. They can have the disease without symptoms and be passing it along to vulnerable family members — infants or grandparents," she says.
There are many other reasons adults should check their immunization status and take appropriate precautions. Project Virginia's web site cautions that they may not have been immunized as children, new vaccines may have become available, or protection may have faded with age. It also warns that for adults, contracting "
Adults should keep an up-to-date shot record. They can track their immunization history through their doctors' records and also request the information from the state registry, Virginia Immunization Information System. The system is currently focused on recording all childhood vaccinations, but it is working towards a comprehensive record. Local health departments issue cards that allow people to maintain their own records; the departments are also a good resource for inexpensive vaccines. They're currently offering free Tdap (for pertussis) and
Charters recommends that adults check with their local pharmacy for vaccines.
"They're there to help guide you with what you need. It's convenient, and most can work with your insurance company," she says. "The flu vaccine is out there now."
She urges adults to be good role models for their children and ensure they're up to date with their immunizations.
What shots do you need?