Think you outgrew the need for vaccines when you graduated from high school and moved out of your parents’ house? Not so. Every year, thousands of young adults in the U. S. suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, or even die from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccinations.
To highlight the importance of immunizations throughout life – and to help remind young adults that they need vaccines, too – the Western UP Health Department is joining with partners nationwide in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month. This is the perfect opportunity to make sure young adults are protected against diseases like flu, whooping cough, tetanus and HPV.
Most vaccines are given early in childhood, but college students and young adults need certain immunizations, too. These vaccines are specifically recommended for young adults ages 19-24:
- Meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against bacterial meningitis and may be required for some college freshmen or other students living in a dorm.
- Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, or whooping cough.
- HPV vaccine protects against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes most cases of cervical and anal cancers, as well as genital warts.
- Seasonal flu vaccine.
The specific vaccines young adults need are determined by factors such as age, lifestyle, risk conditions, locations of travel, and previous vaccines. All young adults should talk to their health care providers about which vaccines are right for them.
“Immunizations are not just for children. Even healthy young adults need protection against vaccine-preventable diseases, especially adults attending college and living in group settings.” said Health Department Immunization Coordinator, Kathy Mell, RN. “The truth is you never outgrow the need for immunizations.”
To find out which vaccines might be right for you and where you can get vaccinated, visit the CDC website or contact your local health department office to schedule an appointment for vaccinations.