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MenoPause Blog

Immunizations for Adult Women

by JoAnn Pinkerton | Feb 08, 2017

We're pleased to have a guest post from Dr. Lisa Larkin.

Larkin Lisa 2014
Lisa Larkin, MD, FACP, NCMP, IF
NAMS Member

Many adult women are incompletely vaccinated, even though immunizations are an important part of disease prevention and wellness. Barriers to immunization include lack of patient knowledge about vaccination, insurance coverage issues, and shorter office visits that focus on disease management and not disease prevention. Women should educate themselves on current vaccine guidelines, and during their wellness visits with their providers, if immunizations are not addressed, ask their providers whether their vaccines are up to date.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) sets US immunization practices, and in 2016 an updated immunization schedule for adults was approved, with several notable changes from prior guidelines. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American College of Physicians (ACP), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) endorse the 2016 ACIP guidelines.

The ACIP guidelines include these recommendations:

  1. All adults should receive an annual influenza vaccine.
  2. All adults should receive a tetanus booster (Td) every 10 years; one of those boosters should be a booster containing both tetanus and pertussis (Tdap).
  3. A two-series vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is recommended for boys and girls between 11 and 14 years old. In adults not previously vaccinated, a three-dose series is recommended for women up to age 26 and for men up to age 21.
  4. Two pneumococcal vaccines are available: a 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine and a newer 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Healthy adults older than age 65 and younger adults with certain medical conditions should receive both vaccines, but not on the same visit.
  5. Vaccination for herpes zoster (shingles) is indicated for all healthy adults older than age 60, irrespective of a prior history of shingles. The herpes zoster vaccine is a live vaccine; pregnant adults and adults with severe immunodeficiency should not be vaccinated.
  6. Hepatitis A and B vaccine is recommended for any adult with specific risk factors for hepatitis A or B (chronic liver disease, men who have sex with men, drug users, healthcare workers) and is appropriate for any adult wishing protection against hepatitis A or B.
  7. Other vaccines, such as meningococcal, Haemophilus, and varicella, are indicated for certain adults with specific risk factors. It is important to discuss vaccination with your provider.



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JoAnn V. Pinkerton, MD, NCMP
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