New 2017 vaccine guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have switched things up a bit, all in the hopes of diminishing the spread of certain, stoppable ailments in adults. The newly released guidelines have given parents and non-parents alike a refresher on the immunizations that they too should be getting, to prevent any possible health complications down the line. That being said, are there certain vaccines adults can skip? It seems the role of flu shots and other vaccinations have been reevaluated.
Though the 2017 adult immunization schedule comes color-coded, it does require a bit of interpretation, so reading the chart and its footnotes carefully are your best bet at properly interpreting what's what. The only vaccine that can be "skipped," per se, is just a type of vaccine — nasal flu "shots" are officially out. Additionally, further updates give flu shot alternatives for adults with egg allergies. The rest of the changes have more to do with the frequency with which the shots should be administered, rather than the addition and subtraction of vaccines themselves.
The number of recommended vaccines for adults comes to a total of 13. Some of these are required annually, others are just a one-and-done situation. The entire list of adult vaccine recommendations is below, but there are still specific provisions as to who really needs to receive each type, as some are only recommended to adults with certain, preexisting conditions, or adults of certain ages:
- Influenza - one dose annually
- Td/Tdap - substitute Tdap for Td once, then Td booster every 10 years
- MMR - one or two doses
- VAR - two doses
- HZV - one dose
- HPV - three doses
- PCV13 - one dose
- PPSV23 - two or three doses
- HepA - two or three doses
- HepB - three doses
- MenACWY or MPSV4 - one or more doses
- MenB - two or three doses
- Hib - one or three doses
Coming at a time when the need for vaccines is being questioned by our current president and his administration, healthcare officials are working to be even more clear about which situations require vaccinating. The president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, John Meigs, Jr., MD, was sure to speak out against this movement last month, saying in a statement:
A new federal commission on immunizations is not necessary and would divert much needed dollars from other, more pressing health care issues. To suggest the need for such an organization promotes unnecessary, ongoing and disproven skepticism about vaccines and public safety.
Thankfully, plenty of healthcare organizations are still working diligently to keep the public well-informed and properly vaccinated. For now, it seems that flu shots and HPV and Hepatitis vaccines aren't going anywhere. The only true modification is that, next flu season, be sure to skip the nasal spray and just go for the traditional, tried-and-true one, needle and all.