Consumer Reports: Vaccines for adults

Vaccinating children is a hot topic that's often in the news, but what about vaccines for adults? From shingles to pneumonia, there are a slew of adult vaccines, but should everyone get them? Consumer Reports explains with this dose of preventative medicine.

Alex Joyce's mom didn't believe in vaccines when he was growing up.

"She was into alternative medicine, so she chose not to vaccinate me when I was a child," Joyce said.

As an adult, Alex made his own decisions when it came to healthcare.

"When I was about 35 and we were expecting our first child, my wife and I decided that it would be a good idea to go through and get all of my vaccinations that I would've had as a child," Joyce said.

Even if you're not like Alex and you were vaccinated as a child, doctors recommend several vaccines for adults, an annual flu shot, a Tdap vaccine if you haven't already received it, and a TD Booster every ten years to protect against tetanus and diphtheria. Then a shingles vaccine at age 50 and at 65, one for pneumonia.

Another vaccine some adults are considering protects against HPV, or human papillomavirus, which can cause cancer in women and men.

"For a lot of adults today, the HPV vaccine wasn't even available when you were a teenager," said Consumer Reports Health Editor Lauren Friedman.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the HPV vaccine for women through age 26 and men through age 21, although the FDA has approved the vaccine up to age of 45.

Worried about that "icky feeling" you might get after a vaccine? Consumer Reports says a shot might cause some mild side effects like a sore arm or even a slight fever. But if you do get sick after being vaccinated, it's probably just a coincidence...something Alex Joyce knows well.

"Now as an adult, I do get my flu shot regularly and I also make sure our son is up to date on all of his vaccines," Joyce said.

At least 30,000 people die each year from complications from diseases that could have been prevented with a vaccine. Consumer Reports says although they can't guarantee you won't get sick, vaccines can improve your odds and even make symptoms less severe if you catch something like the flu.

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