Many of us have unpleasant memories of being betrayed by our parents as a child – what should have been a regular doctors visit instead resulting in us getting jabbed with a frighteningly sharp needle. Vaccines – whether to protect from chickenpox, measles, influenza, or a myriad of other diseases – were a crucial part of growing up, but what many adults don’t realise is that vaccines are often a part of being grown up as well. There are many reasons to get vaccinated as an adult – It’s possible that you missed out on a specific vaccination as a child or may be travelling somewhere that puts you at greater risk of catching a disease. If you’re still unsure, read on to learn why you might need to get vaccinated.
Getting an adult vaccination in Australia
Vaccinations are a commonly forgotten health precaution as an adult. In fact, while more than 93 per cent of infants are vaccinated in Australia, adult vaccination are close to half that, with rates between 53-75 per cent. This is despite many adults requiring vaccinations for a wide variety of life-threatening diseases – although immunity follows some vaccinations (such as measles), a vaccination for whooping cough does not last forever. In fact, there are some booster vaccines given to improve immunity that many adults forget to consider. For example, the tetanus and diphtheria vaccine is recommended every 10 years, which amounts to quite a few extra vaccinations over your lifetime! If your concern lies in the cost of vaccinations as an adult, there’s good news. Alongside infants and children and adolescents, adults and special risk groups are eligible to receive some vaccines free of charge under the National Immunisation Program (NIP). Some state governments also fund the provision of some vaccines that are not included on the NIP.
Special circumstances for vaccinations
It’s not exactly an easy tell to know whether adults need a particular vaccine. In Australia, the vaccines you need to get will entirely depend on a set of factors specific to you. It’s worth looking into vaccines if you missed out on childhood vaccines, if you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, if your occupation is at risk of certain diseases, how old you are and whether you have plans to travel. There are some specific where vaccines are particularly important. If not yet already vaccinated, pregnant women should ensure to receive vaccination against whooping cough (pertussis) and influenza. Getting these vaccinations is so important because it allows for the protection of both the pregnant women and their baby against these very serious infections. Not all vaccinations are appropriate for pregnant women, though – live attenuated viral vaccines are very ill advised. Vaccines such as rubella should be attained during the pregnancy planning stages so that the mother is immune before she becomes pregnant.
Find time to get vaccinated today
Finding the few minutes it takes to make a doctor’s appointment can save you quite a lot of trouble in the long run , particularly if you’re over the age of 50. Although a slight inconvenience and potential cost (although many important vaccines are free or subsidised for adults), it’s a much cheaper and time-effective result than the alternative. If you’re unsure about what vaccines are subsidised where you live, make sure to research your state’s health scheme regulations today.