Why Vaccination is Important for Adults
Infectious diseases do not discriminate individuals by age. Many of you may think that the vaccines you received as a child will last a lifetime. However, you may not realise that you need vaccines throughout your life.1 It is important that adults keep their vaccinations up to date because childhood immunisation can wane off over time.
As an adult, you are at risk for different diseases compared to when you were a child.1,2 There is low awareness of the benefits of immunisation in adults despite the considerable health burden (morbidity and mortality) due to vaccine-preventable diseases.1,2 Depending on your age, health status, occupation, travel habits and lifestyle, you may require different type of vaccines which may be mandatory due to circumstances.1 Additionally, getting yourself vaccinated can help prevent infections (i.e. pertussis) among young children and infants whom you may come into close contact with.2 Sometimes, you may also require vaccine(s) which you have missed during childhood.1,2
Virtually all adults need vaccination to help prevent contraction and spreading of serious infectious diseases. This can resolve other public health issues such as poor health amongst population, absenteeism at work, high treatment costs and caregiver burdens.
- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2017). There are Vaccines You Need as an Adult. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/index.html (Accessed: 24 Nov 2017).
- Malaysian Society of Infectious Diseases and Chemotherapy (MSIDC) (2014). Guidelines for Adult Immunisation 2nd Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: MSIDC
- US CDC (2017). What Vaccines are Recommended for You? Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/index.html (Accessed: 24 Nov 2017).
Immunisation for Infant and Children
Immunisation is essential to protect infants and children early in life because this is when they are most vulnerable and before they are subjected to potentially life-threatening diseases exposure.1 As a parent, you may not like seeing your child being given an injection. However, vaccination will help provide protection to them against a range of serious and potentially fatal diseases.
There are three essential reasons to have your child vaccinated at the appropriate age of vaccination2:
- Vaccinations are quick, safe and effective
- Once your child has been vaccinated against a specific disease, their body’s immune system can fight it better
- If a child is not vaccinated, they are at higher risk of contracting and becoming very ill from the illness
It is unfortunate however for some children who are inevitably unprotected because of the following reasons2:
- They cannot receive vaccination for medical reason
- They are too young to be vaccinated
- They cannot get to clinics that offer the required vaccine
- The vaccine does not work for them (rare occurrence)
However, it is very important to note that if more parents have their children vaccinated, then more children in the community will be protected against a disease.
As parents, it is normal to be concerned for your child to receive too many vaccines at a young age. You may worry that your child’s immune system will be “overloaded” with the amounts of vaccines required but this is not the case.2 Studies have shown that vaccines do not weaken a child’s immune system.2 As soon as a baby is born, their immune system starts to develop in order to cope with the huge number of different bacteria and viruses they come into contact with every day. The bacteria and viruses used in vaccines are weakened or killed and they are much smaller in quantity than the natural bugs that babies and children come into contact with.
WHO recommends routine immunisations for children, including age at first dose and intervals.3 It reiterates recommendations on the primary series and booster doses. Table 1 below summarises the key vaccines and can be accessible via the following link Summary of WHO Position Papers – Recommended Routine Immunizations for Children. National schedules should be and are typically based on local epidemiologic, programmatic, resource & policy considerations of individual countries. While vaccines are universally recommended, some children may have contraindications to particular vaccines.
Learn more about what vaccines may be recommended for your child and talk to your healthcare professional about which vaccines are suitable for your child.