We think about vaccinations to prevent disease as something done as infants or adolescents, but there are many cases where adults should also receive vaccinations to protect their health.
Other than the seasonal influenza vaccine or the more recent COVID-19 vaccines, you may be unaware that other vaccines are appropriate for adults. By encouraging and providing vaccinations in the workplace, employers can help reduce these exposure risks.
Why vaccinations for adults are important
According to the CDC, an adult should get vaccinations for these three reasons:
Have a high risk of a serious disease
Thousands of Americans fall seriously ill every year and are hospitalized or have died because of diseases that vaccines could have prevented. The protection offered by some vaccines can wear off, even if received as a child. Therefore, it is crucial to revisit your immunization history and revaccinate when recommended. Vaccinations can help shield people from a great deal of unnecessary hardship.
People are also at increased risk for disease exposure from your job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions.
Protect their loved ones, coworkers and community
The goal of vaccines is to develop resistance to diseases. Some family members, coworkers and members of the community may not get certain vaccinations because of their age or health conditions. Infants, the elderly, and those with weak immune systems are vulnerable to infectious diseases.
For example, newborn babies cannot receive whooping cough vaccines. In order to protect their unborn babies from whooping cough, expectant mothers should receive the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy.
Stay healthy so they can go to work
For employers, vaccinations are one of the best ways to reduce employee absences from work and improve healthcare costs.
When vaccinated, employees will have the best protection possible against several serious diseases.
What vaccinations should an adult receive?
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) released its 2021 recommended vaccination schedule for adults. The following schedule is available on the CDC’s website:
- Flu: 1 dose annually
- Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap): 1 dose as an adult and then a booster every 10 years. 1 dose Td/Tdap for wound management and for every pregnancy.
- Varicella (chickenpox): 2 doses if born in 1980 or later
- Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR): 1 or 2 doses if born in 1957 or later
- Herpes zoster (shingles): 2 doses for adults 50 years and older
- HPV: 2 or 3 doses, depending on how old you were when you had your first shot. For adults aged 27-45 years, vaccination is recommended on a case-by-case basis.
Foster a pro-vaccine culture at work
Your company can benefit from adopting a vaccine-welcoming culture by ensuring the health and safety of all employees, their families, and anyone else with whom they come in contact. You can offer flu shots at work through a third-party provider, or if that is not possible, provide a list of local providers for flu shots and promote them through email newsletters and announcements.
By encouraging vaccinations, or providing vaccinations when possible, you can boost the health of your employees and the effectiveness of vaccinations overall, resulting in community immunity that protects everyone.