Question: How do I know which vaccinations I should get?
Adults need certain vaccinations throughout their lives. The recommended vaccines for adults vary based on age, existing medical conditions (if any), and past medical history. Recommendations are also based on the likelihood of developing certain infections or passing them on to others. Groups with different recommendations include residents of long-term care facilities, travelers who leave the country, healthcare workers, day-care workers, and food handlers. A list of commonly recommended vaccinations is shown in the table to the right. You may not need all of these, depending on your age and health conditions. To understand the vaccinations you might need, visit this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: www2a.cdc.gov/nip/adultimmsched and fillout the Adult Vaccine Quiz online.You can discuss the results with yourhealthcare provider.
Question: My mother told me that I had hives after eating eggs as a child, and I haven’t eaten eggs since. Can I still get a flu shot?
If hives is the only allergic symptom you had after eating eggs, you can safely get a flu shot. If you had a reaction to eggs involving other symptoms, such as trouble breathing, lightheadedness, or vomiting, or if you needed emergency medical attention, you may still get a flu vaccine. However, the vaccine should be given in a medical setting supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and treat severe allergic reactions.
Two flu vaccines, Flucelvax® and Flublok®, are manufactured without the use of eggs. Talk with your provider about which vaccine is best for you.
Question: My 12-year old son got a meningococcal vaccine. Should I get one?
Two types of meningococcal vaccines are currently available – meningococcal group B vaccines (Bexsero®, Trumenba®) and meningococcal conjugate vaccines (Menactra®, Menveo®, MenQuadfi™). Teens and young adults, especially college students, have an increased chance of getting meningococcal disease. Generally, 11- to 12-year olds should get a meningococcal conjugate vaccine, with a booster dose given at 16 years old. The CDC recommends a meningococcal conjugate vaccine for first-year college students (age 21 or younger) who live in residence halls, if they were not vaccinated at or after age 16. The group B vaccine protects against a rare type of meningococcal disease. It is not routinely recommended.
A meningococcal group B vaccine may be recommended for other adults with an increased chance of getting meningococcal disease, including those who:
- are taking a medicationcalled eculizumab (Soliris®) orravulizumab (Ultomiris®)
have a damaged or missing spleen
- are microbiologists routinelyexposed to meningococcal bacteria
are traveling to or live in countrieswhere meningococcal disease iscommon
- are part of a population identifiedto be at increased risk because of ameningococcal disease outbreak
are military recruits
A meningococcal conjugate vaccine may also be indicated for those listed above, and it has an additional indication – individuals with HIV.