Five questions: Shots for adults
In conjunction with immunization month, the state of Kansas and county health departments are encouraging adults to make sure they are up to date on vaccinations. The Douglas County Health Department offers the following advice.
Q: Do communicable diseases still represent a threat?
A: Yes. There are still outbreaks of measles, mumps and pertussis for example.
Q: Why is it important for heathy adults to check immunization records?
A: Adults are encouraged to think about the people they are around and the possibility of spreading diseases/infections. For example, adults who will be near newborn babies or people with compromised immune systems need to be up to date on immunizations.
Q: If I get a shot, can I assume I’m protected?
A: Immunizations are not 100 percent effective, and that’s another reason to keep up to date. Immunizations are only about 80 to 90 percent, so a few people who receive the immunization may not be completely protected. Moreover for different reasons, some people can’t get vaccinated. Ensuring that the majority are vaccinated helps protect those who are not able to get vaccinated (this is also known as herd immunity).
Q: What immunization records should adults check?
A: Adults should check for Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) and update Td (tetanus and diphtheria) every five to 10 years. Adults need an annual flu shot, and should get vaccines for pneumococcal and hepatitis A and B and get those for chickenpox and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) if they didn’t have those illnesses as children.
Q: How can I learn more about the adult immunization program the county offers?
A: Call 785-843-3036 or visit ldchealth.org/our-services/clinic-services/immunizations in Douglas County, Johnson County residents can call 913-826-1261 or visit jcdhe.jocogov.org/health/immunization, The Wyandotte County Health Department’s number is 913-573-6712 and Leavenworth County Health Department’s number is 913-250-2000.