In the past, vaccines were mainly associated with children and most developed countries have well-established childhood immunisation programmes.
But there is a growing trend towards vaccines for adults against flu, pertussis, measles, HPV and more. Plus, researchers are working on vaccines against cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV and malaria – many of which could benefit people of all ages.
5 reasons adults are having more vaccinations
- Pregnancy: If you are expecting a baby, your doctor or midwife may remind you that pregnant women are one of the World Health Organisation’s priority groups for flu vaccination. Research shows that babies born to mothers who had the flu vaccine were more likely to have a healthy birth weight.
Similarly, pregnant women are advised in many countries to have the pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccine to protect themselves and their babies.
- Travel: Depending on where you are going, business trips and exotic holidays may be a good reason to update your immunisations – often against diseases rarely seen in Europe.
- Catch-up campaigns: Adolescents and young adults have borne the brunt of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, rubella and TB, either because they were not immunised as children or because immunity has waned over time. They are often targeted with catch-up campaigns dedicated to protecting those most at risk.
- Work: For some adults, having annual flu vaccines or booster vaccinations can be an important part of workplace safety. This can help protect people who are frequently exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases, as well as controlling the spread of disease to others. For example, flu vaccination is becoming the norm for healthcare workers in the UK and some childcare facilities ask that their staff keep up to date with immunisation.
- Chronic illnesses and old age: Seasonal flu vaccination is generally advised for people with chronic diseases and for older people. But other vaccines are available to older people too, including vaccines against pneumococcal disease and shingles.
*Check your national vaccine schedule and consult your doctor for personalised advice*