(ABC4 UTAH) When we think of vaccines, first to mind is often our children getting their shots before starting school. But vaccinations are important for everyone, of all ages. During National Immunization Month in August, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve all been fighting through, it’s an ideal time to remember we all need our vaccinations – from when we’re children up through our senior years

I’m an adult. Aren’t vaccinations more important for children?

True, vaccinations are very important for children, who need their help in building a strong, healthy immune system. But they’re just as important for adults. Protection from childhood vaccines can wear off over time.

Vaccines also help to prevent getting and spreading diseases that can result in poor health, missed work, and not being able to care for family members.

What are the main vaccinations I should be sure to get this year?

One of the most important vaccines recommended for most adults, with rare, case-by-case exceptions, is the seasonal flu vaccine. It’s especially important for pregnant women, those with chronic health conditions, and older adults. Anyone who lives with or cares for those people should also be sure to get the influenza vaccine.

And after the last two years, we all know the impact the COVID-19 vaccines have had on protecting our health. Make sure you’re vaccinated and boosted to your doctor’s and the CDC’s recommendations.

The Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, or whooping cough, is important for any adults who’ve never received it. You should also follow up with a Tdap booster every 10 years, while pregnant women should get the vaccine between 27 and 35 weeks during each pregnancy.

Are there other important vaccinations that are appropriate for me?

Other vaccines may be suggested based on your job, your family history, or other lifestyle factors. HPV vaccinations protect against viruses that cause most cervical and other cancers and are recommended for most people through age 26 if they didn’t get the vaccine as a teenager.

The meningococcal vaccines, which protect against meningitis, are important for people whose health conditions put them at increased risk of the bacteria that causes it. Many settings require these vaccines, in fact, including some school systems, certain health care environments, and others.

Several others, depending on your age and other factors, may be recommended, including Hepatitis B, MMR (or measles, mumps, and rubella), and even chickenpox, if you haven’t had chickenpox or shingles, or been vaccinated against either. Different health conditions, from HIV to lung, liver, and renal diseases, or a weakened immune system, may put you in the category of needing additional vaccinations.

Finally, if you plan to travel abroad, you may need to get certain additional vaccinations, either due to governmental policies or to protect you against environmental factors your body hasn’t previously been exposed to and built immunity against.

Are there factors that may make me consider not getting vaccinated?

For some adults with certain health conditions, specific vaccinations may honestly not be recommended.

If you’re at a high risk of allergic reactions or have a compromised immune system, talk to your doctor before getting any vaccinations.

I’m ready to get vaccinated: What’s my next step?

With many common vaccinations, including for COVID-19 and influenza, you can often walk right into your local supermarket or pharmacy and get vaccinated, often without any co-pay or appointment.

Does the mobile clinic offer any vaccines?

You can also talk to your doctor. That’s especially convenient because you can have a conversation about any concerns you may have at the same time.

To learn more, go to Optumcare.com/ut.

Questions? Call 1-866-637-5268

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