Do adults also need routine Vaccinations?

It’s not only children who need to be vaccinated. Even adults need vaccinations to boost their immunity against common infections and to help them stay healthy. It is a commonly held belief that in terms of physical strength from birth, human beings reach a peak at age of 20, maintain it between the ages of 20 to 30 after which it is all downhill.

A similar phenomenon happens with regards to our body’s immunity against infections and it is referred to as immuno-senescence. This usually occurs after the age of 50 yrs. Young children and adults build up their immunity by acquiring infections and by vaccinations. This keeps them protected. Immunosenesence affects all parts of the immune system,both the cellular arm as well as the humoral (antibody) arm reducing their ability to produce antibodies as well as the ability to gobble up bacteria and digest them.

Recently, after the Covid pandemic, talk about vaccinations seems to upset many people. Many believe that vaccines are a gimmick and are employed by the pharmaceutical industry and doctors only to make money. Many others also believe that vaccinations have some common and terrible side-effects and therefore must be avoided at all cost. What must be recognised is that except for the Covid vaccines most vaccines have been vigorously evaluated for safety, potency, side-effects and have taken many years to be developed. But even Covid vaccines have been shown to reduce the pneumonia to just a mere flu like illness! While I am not denying the the possibility of side-effects to the vaccines, it is my opinion that vaccines have a significant benefit in keeping people healthy and away from hospitals!

Why are vaccines important?

Vaccines are the most important methods of improving our immunity against specific infections. If people stop taking vaccines, it could possible lead to the increase in previously uncommon infectious diseases. Vaccinations have ensured that quite a few diseases have been eradicated or completely suppressed. Smallpox is no longer prevalent in the world. Many other infections like polio are less of a problem today than they were in the past. Therefore, you cannot deny that vaccines have made a big difference. The WHO says that vaccine hesitancy as one of the biggest threats to global health (when people who have access to vaccines delay accepting or refuse the vaccine).

How to look at Vaccines?

Do we ask if vaccines are needed for our children. A majority of the vaccines are given to our children without us referring to google or questioning the rationale because childhood vaccination as they have stood the test of time. Vaccinations has been proven beyond doubt to be helpful and necessary to have healthy children. However, of late the medical fraternity is getting the same amount of confidence to recommend certain vaccines to adults i.e., those above the age of 60-65 yrs and younger especially when they have certain disease conditions. In one study done in the US on those above the age of 60 yrs who received “routine” adult vaccinations and were then followed up for 10 yrs, showed a 40% reduction in pneumonias, 40 % reduction of heart attacks (which often happen after a pneumonia) and a 40% reduction of hospitalization and all cause mortality. This changed my perspective completely! There are 6 vaccines (if Covid is included) that must be offered to those above the age of 65 yrs routinely and for those above 60 if they have specific diseases.

Below are the vaccinations that are recommended for adults based only on age.

Vaccines recommeded based on Age criteria alone.

Contact me for any clarifications!

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