Adult Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions: The Basics

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1 The Basics Why should I get vaccinated? Vaccination is the best way to protect against infections that can make you sick and be passed on to those around you. 1 What kinds of side effects will I get from being vaccinated? Some side effects occur with all vaccines. The most common side effects are local reactions, such as pain, swelling, and redness in the area where you received the shot. 2 Any significant side effects associated with vaccinations should be reported to your who, in turn, will report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). 2 If I had all my vaccinations as a child, is the flu shot the only one I may still need as an adult? You never outgrow the need for vaccines. The specific immunizations you need as an adult are determined by such factors as your age, lifestyle, health conditions, type and locations of travel, and previous immunizations. 3 Should I get vaccinated if I am pregnant? Certain vaccines should not be administered to women known to be pregnant. You should consult your if you are pregnant. 2 I am in good health. Do I still need a shot? 4 Regardless of age, we all need immunizations to keep us healthy. 5 However, different vaccines are indicated for people of different ages or with different health conditions. While everyone should get the flu vaccine each season, it is especially important that certain people get vaccinated because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications. 6 Do vaccines protect me against infections? Many diseases that were once all too common are now much reduced, in large part, due to vaccination. 7 Many people have not seen the effects of such diseases as polio, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, and German measles. 8 Even with the success vaccines have had, more than 50,000 American adults die each year from diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. 9 Isn t it good for my body to fight off a disease rather than being vaccinated? Vaccines actually work with your body s natural immune system by helping it recognize and fight invading bacteria or viruses.your immune system then takes over to destroy the invader and remember it, so that it can more easily recognize and destroy the disease if it meets it again. 11

2 References 1. American Lung Association. Influenza. Accessed September 24, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pinkbook: general recommendations chapter: epidemiology of vaccine-preventable diseases. Updated May 7, Accessed September 24, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines: immunization schedules for adults in easy-to-read formats. schedules/easy-to-read/adult.html. Updated July 13, Accessed September 24, Canova L, Birchmeier M, D Acremont V, et al. Prevalence rate and reasons for refusals of influenza vaccine in elderly. Swiss Med Wkly. 2003;133(43-44): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC features: adults need immunizations, too. Updated June 25, Accessed September 24, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Key facts about seasonal influenza (flu). Pages/keyFacts.aspx. Updated October 8, Accessed August 13, Roush SW, Murphy TV, and the Vaccine-Preventable Disease Table Working Group. Historical comparisons of morbidity and mortality for vaccinepreventable diseases in the United States. JAMA. 2007;298(18): Offit PA, Bell PM. Common concerns about vaccines. In: Offit PA, Bell PM. Vaccines: What You Should Know. 3rd ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2003: National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Facts about adult immunization. Published August Accessed September 25, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. How vaccines work. aspx. Accessed September 27, % TOTAL RECOVERED FIBER PSA Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in USA/October 2012

3 Pneumococcal Disease What is Pneumococcal Disease? Pneumococcal (NEU-mo-KOK-al) disease (PD) is an infectious illness caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. It can make you very sick. The disease is spread from person to person by close contact. 1,2 How can PD affect me? Some people think PD is an illness that only old or sick people get or that it is a disease only seen in hospitals or nursing homes. However, each year in the United States there are many types of PD cases reported among adults aged 50 years and older: 7,000 cases of blood infections, 442,000 cases of pneumonia (a lung infection), and 1,700 cases of meningitis (an infection of the protective covering surrounding the brain). 3 You can catch pneumococcal pneumonia where you live and work. Why are people 50+ at increased risk for PD? As you get older, your immune system isn t able to respond as quickly to infection as it did when you were younger. This means that older individuals may be more likely to have severe cases of disease. And it is estimated that 75% of pneumococcal pneumonia cases requiring hospitalization occur in adults over the age of 50. 3,4 Is PD easily spread from person to person? Like other common infections, pneumococcal pneumonia is transmitted directly from person to person. Specifically, the disease is spread through close contact with droplets created when infected people cough, sneeze, or talk. 2 I thought pneumonia was like a cold, with symptoms that go away after several days. Is it really that bad? Pneumococcal pneumonia is much more serious than the common cold, with symptoms that appear quickly and are sometimes severe. Certain symptoms like cough and fatigue can last for a month or more, even after treatment with antibiotics. 5 Is there anything I can do to keep from getting pneumococcal disease? There are two vaccines that help prevent it. Medicare and private insurance companies pay for the vaccine for patients who need it. It s also important to get an influenza vaccination every year because having the flu increases the chances of getting pneumococcal disease. 6

4 References 1. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Pneumococcal pneumonia cause. aspx. Updated February 16, Accessed August 10, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Pneumococcal pneumonia transmission. transmission.aspx. Updated February 16, Accessed August 10, Huang SS, Johnson KM, Ray GT, et al. Healthcare utilization and cost of pneumococcal disease in the United States. Vaccine. 2011;29(18): National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID). Top five reasons for adults to get vaccinated against pneumococcal disease. org/professional-resources/pneumo-toolkit/top-five.html. Published November Accessed August 10, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. How is pneumonia treated? Published March 1, pnu/treatment.html. Accessed September 25, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Facts about pneumococcal disease for adults. Accessed September 26, % TOTAL RECOVERED FIBER PSA Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in USA/October 2012

5 Influenza Is the flu a disease that can be spread from person to person? Yes. It is caused by the influenza virus, which can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or talking. By getting flu vaccine you can protect yourself from influenza and may also avoid spreading influenza to others. 1 How do flu vaccines work? Flu vaccines (the flu shot or nasal spray) help your body recognize and fight the specific type of the flu viruses expected to cause disease in a particular year. 2 Does the flu vaccine work right away? It takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against the flu virus. In the meantime, you are still at risk for getting the flu. That s why it s better to get vaccinated early in the fall, before the flu season really gets under way. 2 When should you get a flu vaccine? Get the vaccine as soon as it is available. Flu season usually peaks in January or February, but it can occur as late as May. Early immunization is the most effective, but it is not too late to get the vaccine in December, January, and beyond. 2 How long is my flu vaccination good for? The flu vaccine will protect you for one flu season (typically late fall through early spring). The flu vaccine is designed to protect you from the types of flu that are expected that flu season. 2 Can I get the flu from the vaccine? No, you cannot get the flu from the flu shot or the nasal spray. 2 References 1. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Key facts about seasonal influenza (flu). Pages/keyFacts.aspx. Updated October 8, Accessed August 13, Flu.gov. Vaccination & vaccine safety. Accessed September 24, % TOTAL RECOVERED FIBER PSA Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in USA/October 2012

6 Herpes Zoster (shingles) What is shingles? Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a disease that causes a painful, blistering rash. In people who have had chickenpox, the virus can remain inactive within the body and then become active later and cause shingles. Even after a shingles rash has healed, some people will continue to have severe chronic pain in the affected areas. 1 Who should get the shingles vaccine? Anyone 60 years of age or older should get the shingles vaccine, regardless of whether they recall having had chickenpox or not. Studies show that more than 99% of Americans aged 40 and older have had chickenpox, even if they don t remember getting the disease. 2 How well does the shingles vaccine work? In studies, the vaccine reduced the risk of developing shingles by about 50%. People who were vaccinated but still developed shingles had pain for fewer days than people who were not vaccinated. Probably of most importance is that vaccinated people experienced shorter periods of severe pain after the shingles rash had disappeared. 3 Does the shingles vaccine cause side effects? The most common side effects of the shingles vaccine are local reactions, such as redness, pain, tenderness, or swelling at the injection site, and headache. 3 Should people without a history of chickenpox get the shingles vaccine? It is assumed that every person 60 years of age and older who has lived his or her entire life in the United States has been exposed to chickenpox and therefore should get the vaccine. 3 Should adults who have already had shingles get the vaccine? Persons who have had shingles are unlikely to have it again (95% of cases occur in people with no history of shingles). However, the vaccine is approved for use in anyone 60 years of age and older regardless of his or her history of shingles. 3 Can the shingles vaccine be given at the same time as the influenza vaccine? The shingles vaccine and injected influenza vaccine can be given safely at the same health care visit. 3 References 1. National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Shingles information for consumers. Consumers. Accessed September 24, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines & immunizations: shingles vaccination: what you need to know. vpd-vac/shingles/vacc-need-know.htm#get-vaccine. Updated August 3, Accessed September 24, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Frequently asked questions about the shingles vaccine. Information-for-the-Media-2/media-faq.html. Accessed September 24, % TOTAL RECOVERED FIBER PSA Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in USA/October 2012

7 Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) What are tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis? Tetanus is a disease that is caused by bacteria found in soil that enters the body through an injury or wound. Tetanus is also called lockjaw because it causes severe muscle spasms, especially in the jaw, neck, and chest muscles that control breathing. 1 Diphtheria is a respiratory disease caused by bacteria that is spread by coughing and sneezing. The symptoms include a sore throat and low-grade fever. Airway blockage, coma, and death can occur if not treated. 2 Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is also known as whooping cough. After 1 to 2 weeks, severe coughing can begin. Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from the lungs and you are forced to inhale with a loud whooping sound. This extreme coughing can cause you to throw up and be very tired. 3,4 Who should be vaccinated? All adults are advised to get a lifetime shot of Tdap. The following people should make sure they are up to date with their Tdap immunization: adults who are in contact with infants under 12 months (regardless of when you last received a Td vaccine), new mothers who have never received Tdap, health care workers who are in direct contact with patients, and pregnant women after 20 weeks of pregnancy. 5,6 I have already been vaccinated for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, why should I get another vaccination? Some vaccines do not protect against illness for an entire lifetime. The Td vaccine that was available at one time for adults does not protect against pertussis; an adult version of Td with pertussis (Tdap) was not available in the United States until I never get sick, so why do I need Tdap? Whooping cough is usually not deadly to adults and teenagers, but infants and young children are in danger of severe and life-threatening disease. Also, children do not receive all of their DTaP shots until they are 4 to 6 years old, so they are not fully protected in their early years. If you contract pertussis you may infect young children by coughing or sneezing near them. 6 What are the risks associated with this vaccine? Tdap vaccine is administered as a shot in the upper arm. There may be some pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site. 5

8 References 1. US National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Tetanus. ency/article/ htm. Updated November 22, Accessed September 24, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines: diphtheria in-short. Reviewed February 7, Accessed September 24, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis: causes and transmission. Last updated June 11, Accessed September 24, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis: signs and symptoms. Last updated July 13, Accessed September 24, US National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Tdap vaccine. medlineplus/ency/article/ htm. Updated August 27, Accessed September 24, Jefferson University Hospitals. Why you need Tdap vaccine frequently asked questions. Accessed September 25, % TOTAL RECOVERED FIBER PSA Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in USA/October 2012

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