Vaccinations are generally meant to strengthen the body’s immunity against diseases caused by pathogens. Although they are mostly administered to small children, it is important to ensure that adults are also vaccinated because of the risk they are exposed to as they grow old. My thesis statement is that adults should be vaccinated. Drawing from a study by Greenberg (2012), older people should be vaccinated in order to protect them from diseases that can be prevented through vaccination. This paper presents reasons to support the vaccination of adults.
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Population is Living Longer
Elderly Can Have Weaker Immune Systems
Although children are easily infected by cold and other similar illnesses, their immune system is strong and thus able to fight off the infections in a few days (Harvard Health Publications, 2013). Unlike children, elderly people have a weak immune system that makes it difficult for them to deal with such infections. This is due to the fact that the immune system weakens as individuals grow older. The fight against infections may thus be lost over the years unless preventive measures are taken.
Generally, the immune system consists of cells, organs and tissues that help to keep individuals healthy. It is made up of innate and adaptive immune systems which change as individuals advance in age. The innate system comprises of cells and barriers that prevent the entrance of germs into the body. It is thus considered as the first line of defense. Unfortunately, the innate system weakens as one grows old since the cells lose the ability to communicate with each other as required. Unlike the innate immune system, adaptive immune system is multifaceted and very complicated. As individuals grow old, cells that are responsible for building immunity weaken and lose the ability to fight infections. For this reason, adults should be vaccinated against infections such as pneumonia, flu, and yellow fever (Harvard Health Publications, 2013).
Education Programs for Vaccines
Immunization programs organized by different individuals and organizations are meant to sensitize people on the importance of vaccinations. The programs may be delivered in different formats including the use of the Internet and television which help to reach a wider audience. Through immunization education programs, it is now obvious to many people that immunization is not only for small children. Adults are equally at risk and must thus be vaccinated to boost their resistance against infections. Clearly, the main agenda of the immunization education programs is to appeal to individuals to take the need for immunization seriously.
Vaccinations Received in Childhood have Expired or Weakened
Since vaccinations administered in childhood weaken with time, it is necessary to consider the administration of booster vaccines as individuals grow older. Generally, the administration of booster vaccines against diseases such as tetanus and diphtheria help to strengthen the immune system among adults. Tetanus is caused by clostridium tetanus bacterium which secretes a neurotoxin that causes painful muscular spasms. It may be caused by a contaminated wound or a trivial injury that remains unnoticed for a long time. Although tetanus vaccination is given to children and babies, tetanus boosters are recommended for adults aged fifty years and above. Ostensibly, adults should be given boosters after every ten years (Kau, Hughes & Sadowski, 2011).
Diphtheria is another infection that is common among adults. It has serious health implications that can lead to death if not treated early. The disease infects the upper part of the respiratory tract as well as other important parts of the human body. Diphtheria vaccinations are recommended for children and infants while adults aged fifty years and above should receive boosters.
Previous Epidemic Level Diseases are on the Rise
Research also indicates that previous epidemic level diseases are on the rise. As a consequence, the vaccination of adults should be encouraged. Failure to vaccinate adults against such diseases will leave subject them to serious risks of infection. It is thus imperative to ensure that adults are vaccinated to strengthen their immunity. This is regardless of whether an individual was immunized as a child. Because of the increased prevalence of epidemic level diseases, adults should be vaccinated in order to ensure their safety. As has already been explained, the immune system of human beings weakens with time and timely vaccination is very critical for the survival of older people.
Vaccinations Provide Preventative Care
Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines
The best protection against serious infections like flu and pneumonia is through vaccination. Flue is a viral disease that causes headache, fever, muscle aches, cough and tiredness. Because of the risks associated with flu, vaccination is recommended for any person aged sixty five years and above (Kau, Hughes & Sadowski, 2011). Arguably, these individuals are prone to flu because of weak immunity. Generally, allergic reactions caused by flu vaccinations are very rare. This notwithstanding, allergic reactions may be encountered by individuals who are allergic to eggs since the vaccination contains egg proteins (Harvard Health Publications, 2013). Since the flu virus changes quite frequently, it is advisable for adults to be vaccinated every year (Kau, Hughes & Sadowski, 2011). Apparently, the vaccination is made up of different virus strains every year.
Pneumonia is another complicated health problem that can cause death among adults with weak immunity. It is thus advisable for adults aged sixty five years and above to be vaccinated against pneumonia. Vaccination against pneumonia is also an important consideration for people who smoke. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination is usually given to adults to protect them against twenty three strains that cause diseases in adults. Allegedly, the vaccination is seventy percent effective in protecting individuals from pneumococcal diseases. In addition, cases of allergic reactions are minimal. Normally, the vaccination is a single booster shot given after five years to ensure continuous protection against the disease (Kau, Hughes & Sadowski, 2011).
Vaccinations before Traveling Abroad
Generally, people worry about the risk of infection as they travel to foreign places. Considering that the idea of being infected can be very scary for travelers, it is imperative to spend time educating them on what they should do in order to stay safe. When traveling to the developing world, vaccinations against yellow fever and meningitis are very vital. As a matter of fact, travelers may be denied entry into some countries if they fail to obtain these vaccinations before traveling. Apparently, the strict measures are meant to limit the transmission of infections from one country to another (Harvard Health Publications, 2013). The measures are also meant to protect individuals from acquiring infections that are not found in their home countries.
Without a doubt, the arguments presented in this paper clearly indicate that the vaccination of adults is very important and must be taken seriously. As has been explained, an individual’s immune system weakens as he or she grows older. For this reason, the vaccination of adults must not be ignored. Adults should be vaccinated in order to boost their immunity. To avoid uncertainties, any person traveling abroad should be vaccinated.
Greenberg, S. A. (2012). Immunizations for Older Adults. Web.
Harvard Health Publications (2013). Vaccinations: Myth vs. Reality. Harvard Women’s Health Watch, 20(12), 5.
Kau, L., Hughes, C. & Sadowski, C. A. (2011). Vaccinations in Older Adults: Focus on Pneumococcal, Influenza and Herpes Zoster Infections. Canadian Pharmacists Journal, 144(3), 132 – 141.