Harvard Women's Health Watch

In brief: Experts issue immunization guidelines

In brief

Experts issue immunization guidelines

Immunization is not just for children and travelers — and it's not just about getting a flu shot. Adults are vulnerable to complications caused by many diseases vaccines can prevent. Women, in particular, benefit from vaccinations. They live longer than men, so they have a greater chance of being exposed to infectious disease in later life. They're also more likely to work in health care, education, and child care, where they're at risk for whooping cough (pertussis), hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox (varicella), as well as influenza.

In October 2005, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which makes recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, issued an updated schedule of adult immunizations (see below). It also voted to recommend routine vaccination of adults against whooping cough, which is on the rise in the United States. According to the schedule, adults ages 19–64 should be vaccinated with a newly formulated tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccine. (Tdap replaces the tetanus-diphtheria, or Td, vaccine current in 2005.)

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