Harvard Men's Health Watch

New immunizations for adults

For many men, vaccinations are kids' stuff. Indeed, most immunizations are designed for children, and most new vaccines are headed for pediatric offices and clinics; the newly approved rotavirus vaccine, which will prevent many cases of childhood diarrhea, is an example. But infections strike people of all ages, and immunizations are important for adults, too.

Aside from travelers and people with special needs and vulnerabilities, healthy adults have had only three vaccines to keep track of: For everyone over 50, a flu shot every fall; for everyone at age 65, a pneumococcal pneumonia shot; and for all of us, a tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster every 10 years. But two new vaccines have joined the list.

A vaccine for shingles

Doctors know it as zoster, but up to a million Americans are stricken each year by the infection they call shingles. By either name, it's an unsightly, often painful process that can be prevented by a vaccine that was approved in 2006.

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