FREEHOLD, NJ – Immunizations are not just for kids!

The Monmouth County Health Department is reminding adults that they need to take ongoing precautions to protect themselves from disease and infection. The specific immunizations adults need are determined by factors such as age, lifestyle, high-risk conditions, type and locations of travel, and previous immunizations.

“Young adults, middle-aged adults and senior citizens all need to consider immunizations as a way to stay healthy,” Freeholder Amy A. Mallet said. “You should contact your health provider to discuss the best approach to getting the immunizations you need.”

Throughout adult life, immunizations are important to maintain protection against:

  • Seasonal influenza (flu) - In general, anyone who is 6 months or older can benefit from the protection of a flu vaccination.
  • Tetanus and diphtheria - all adults who lack written documentation of a primary vaccine series consisting of at least three doses.
  • Tdap (whooping cough) – adults under 65 who expect to have close contact with an infant under one year of age who are susceptible to whooping cough. This shot helps boost immunity to whooping cough, known as pertussis, that often presents itself as a chronic cough in adults, but can be serious or even fatal if spread to infants.
  • Shingles – all adults 60 years and older
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) – adults born in 1957 or later
  • Pneumococcal disease - For adults 65 years and older and adults with specific health conditions
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection – all previously unvaccinated women under age 27
  • Varicella (chickenpox) – all adults without evidence of immunity

“The need for immunizations does not end when you reach adulthood,” said Michael A. Meddis, Monmouth County’s public health coordinator. “The need for immunization remains just as strong as when we were children. As adults, we must maintain our health because we are also affecting the health of our families by teaching them how to care for themselves.”

Other vaccinations adults may need include those that protect against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningococcal (meningitis) and polio depending on risk factors and travel plans.

Meddis also reminds people that the annual flu season is approaching. “The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year. The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on worldwide monitoring and scientists’ estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year.”

There are two types of vaccines: the “flu shot,” an inactivated vaccine that is given with a needle, usually in the arm, and the nasal-spray flu vaccine, a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu. It is given through the nose.”

During the last flu season, the Monmouth County Health Department administered nearly 20,000 doses of flu vaccines to Monmouth County residents.

“Residents should encourage other adults in their families to check with their doctors for immunizations they may need to help protect against vaccine-preventable diseases,” Mallet said.  “Some childhood vaccinations will not protect you for your entire life. The county’s public health professionals are available to answer your health-related questions.”

Individuals living in towns covered by the county’s Health Department are eligible to access the full compliment of services provided by this county department including childhood and adult vaccines. Member towns are: Aberdeen, Allentown, Asbury Park, Atlantic Highlands, Avon, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Englishtown, Farmingdale, Hazlet, Howell, Lake Como, Manasquan, Marlboro, Matawan, Millstone, Neptune Township, Neptune City, Oceanport, Ocean Grove, Roosevelt and Union Beach.

More information about immunizations for adults and children is available from the Monmouth County Health Department at www.visitmonmouth.com or by calling 732-431-7456.