GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Back to school time often comes with a checklist for your students, including making sure their immunizations are up to date.
But August is also National Immunization Awareness Month to highlight the importance of all ages and doctors say adults in particular need to take the time to update their own shots.
“Adults tend to think of vaccines related to childhood illnesses mostly and they tend to forget about how important vaccines are for adults too,” said Pitt County Health Director John Morrow.
No matter your age, you never outgrow the need for vaccines.
Morrow said staying up to date on your vaccines helps not only you, but the entire community, “People, who for whatever [reason] don’t think they need a vaccine or don’t get a vaccine for themselves, need to be responsible as adults to realize their protecting their children, their parents, their grandparents, people in their communities that are high risk people with chronic disease, cancer, young children.”
Childhood immunizations are age-based
Adult vaccine recommendations are based on several factors including age, underlying medical conditions, lifestyle, prior vaccinations and other considerations.
“The other thing is travel,” explained Morrow. “A lot more people are traveling more than they did 20 or 50 years ago. So when you’re traveling, you’re putting yourself at risk of also of contracting other diseases that vaccines may protect you against.”
Dr. Morrow said a recent measles outbreak in Raleigh earlier this month is just one reminder of why getting booster shots can also help you in the long run.
“We’re seeing people who have even been vaccinated are still susceptible to diseases like measles that can spread and have serious side effects,” added Morrow. “So whenever it’s an outbreak it’s a good idea to be protected.”
Dr. Morrow said vaccines are readily available at drug store pharmacies and at your local health department.
And this is the one time he suggests turning to the internet for answers. The CDC has an online assessment tool. You can use to get a list of vaccines you may need to update.