Hit Me with Your Best Shot
Women often skip life-saving vaccines

With just your zip code, find out the vaccines and clinics that are available in your area. N.C. Immunization Branch: www.immunizenc.org


As Triangle residents rush to take flu vaccines, including those for the H1N1 virus, it’s important to consider whether your other shots are current.

If you think you were done with your childhood inoculations, think again. Far too many women are missing important vaccinations needed for adults.

“Most childhood vaccines confer long-term protection without a need for boosters,” explains Sabra Klein, M.D., assistant professor in the department of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

But certain preventatives need to be on the radar screens of adults. Unfortunately, mothers who ensure that their children’s shots are up-to-date often neglect their own. 
A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta reveals that less than half of the adults polled were familiar with diseases like shingles, meningitis, hepatitis b and whooping cough. These are all potentially fatal diseases that could be prevented with vaccines.

According to the CDC, the following serums are part of the recommended adult immunization schedule:

Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Td/Tdap)
Adults need one dose of Td booster every 10 years.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Three doses are recommended for all women 26 years and under who haven’t completed the vaccine series. Ideally, the injections should be administered before potential exposure to HPV through sexual activity. However, women who are sexually active should still be go through the medical process.

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) 
Adults born before 1957 are considered to be immune to measles and mumps; adults born after that year should receive one or more doses of MMR unless they have a medical contraindication, documentation of more than one dose, history of measles based on health-care provider diagnosis or laboratory evidence of immunity.

Varicella (chicken pox)
All adults without evidence of immunity to varicella (commonly known as the chicken pox) should receive two doses of single-antigen varicella vaccine unless they have a medical contraindication.

Pneumococcal (pneumonia)
One dose is suggested for adults aged 65 and older.

Zoster (shingles)
A single dose of zoster vaccine is recommended for adults age 60 or more regardless of whether they report a prior episode of herpes zoster. Persons with chronic medical conditions may be vaccinated unless a contraindication or precaution exists for their condition.

Hepatitis a and b, Meningococcal
This shot should be discussed with a health-care provider.