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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

By: Tristan A. Sadowski, assistant director of Geisinger Pharmacy

Stay healthy and up-to-date with the recommended vaccine list for adults.

Since 2020, we’ve heard a lot about vaccinations. The updated COVID vaccine is just one of many recommended vaccinations for adults and more recently developed options for older adults. Most are easy to get at your doctor’s office or pharmacy.

Stay on top of updated COVID and flu vaccines

There are a couple of vaccines that can protect you annually, especially during cold and flu season. To protect yourself against COVID, the CDC recommends everyone ages 12 and older consider the updated vaccine. The number of doses you need depends on previous COVID vaccinations you’ve had, especially if you’re immunocompromised. Find out the CDC’s current recommendations.

The CDC also recommends everyone 6 months and older have a seasonal flu vaccination, with some rare exceptions. The new vaccine comes out in late summer every year, but because flu season can last through March, you can be vaccinated until the spring. If you’re older than 65, there are CDC guidelines about which type of flu vaccine you are eligible for, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Make sure you’ve received recommended boosters

As a result of more than 70 years of childhood vaccines, once-common diseases like polio, tetanus and diphtheria are rare. But some vaccines require boosters as you age to keep you protected. For example, you should get a tetanus and diphtheria booster, also known as Tdap or Td, every 10 years.

Measles has seen a resurgence over the past decade, though. So if you’re under 65 and aren’t sure whether you had the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, talk to your care team about getting it now just in case — it’s safe to get it more than once.

More recent vaccines for adults

Besides your childhood vaccinations, more recently developed vaccines could benefit you. They can help prevent other diseases, like:

  • Shingles (varicella zoster): If you’ve ever had chickenpox — even if you didn’t know it — then you could get shingles, a painful skin infection caused by the same virus. A shingles vaccine became available about 15 years ago, and it’s safe to have whether you’ve had chickenpox or not. It’s recommended for everyone over the age of 50.
  • Pneumonia: If you’re 65 or older or have risk factors for pneumonia (like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or smoking), talk to your doctor about whether a pneumonia vaccine is right for you. There are two different vaccines — your doctor will know whether you should get one or both.
  • Hepatitis B: It’s not easily transmitted, but if you do get hepatitis B it could lead to serious health problems. Vaccination is recommended for everyone under 60, and for older people with risk factors like chronic liver disease or sexual exposure risk.
  • Meningitis: You may already have received the meningitis vaccines before you turned 18. But if you’re immunocompromised, ask your care team whether you need additional vaccination (or your first, if you haven’t had it yet).
  • RSV: If you’re 60 or older, ask your doctor whether you should be vaccinated against RSV, a respiratory illness. A vaccine was approved in 2023, but it’s only recommended for certain people.

Talk to your care team first

Check with your provider before getting vaccinations. The medical guidelines for some adult vaccines are complicated, and they’ll make sure you get the right ones for you.

If you’re pregnant or immunocompromised or have other health risk factors, other vaccines might benefit you besides the ones above. You might also need other immunizations if you travel where you’ll be exposed to diseases uncommon in the United States, or if you work in healthcare. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you for sure.

Next steps:

Get to know Geisinger Pharmacy
Here are four reasons to get your flu shot
What to know about the RSV vaccine

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