Why Should Adults Be Vaccinated Against Childhood Diseases?

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Why Should Adults Be Vaccinated Against Childhood Diseases?
Why Should Adults Be Vaccinated Against Childhood Diseases?

Video: Why Should Adults Be Vaccinated Against Childhood Diseases?

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Video: The Importance of Childhood Vaccinations | UPMC HealthBeat 2023, February
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Why should adults be vaccinated against childhood diseases?

In 2019, the World Health Organization listed vaccine refusal as one of the 10 global threats to global health. But vaccinations are done in childhood, and you have already grown up. So maybe it's easier to do without them? Here's why underestimating "childhood" infections can cost you or your loved ones health or even life.

Why should adults be vaccinated against childhood diseases?
Why should adults be vaccinated against childhood diseases?

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In 2019, the World Health Organization listed vaccine refusal as one of the 10 global threats to global health. But vaccinations are given in childhood, and you have already grown up. So maybe it's easier to do without them? Here's why underestimating "childhood" infections can cost you or your loved ones health or even life.

What diseases can be considered "childhood"

There are many childhood illnesses as well as adults. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers potentially deadly infectious diseases "childhood" that threaten children between 0 and 5 years of age and which can be protected by vaccination.

Among the deadliest childhood diseases, WHO includes measles, poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, rotavirus diarrhea and two bacterial pneumonia. The first is caused by Haemophilus influenzae type B, the second is caused by the causative agent of pneumococcal infection (Streptococcus pneumonia).

The Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation (Ministry of Health) adds rubella and mumps (mumps) to the list. All vaccinations from this list are included in the National Calendar of Preventive Vaccinations, that is, they are given free of charge.

In the United States, the list of childhood diseases from which vaccinations can be protected is even wider. Employees of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also refer to "children" as meningococcal infection, hepatitis A, chickenpox and human papillomavirus (HPV).

In our country, almost all vaccinations from American recommendations (except for HPV) are included in the Calendar of preventive vaccinations for epidemic indications. This means that they will most likely be made for free only if an epidemic breaks out in the region where you live.

The HPV vaccine will have to be paid for in most regions. In Moscow, it is included in the regional calendar of preventive vaccinations - girls aged 12-13 have the right to be vaccinated for free.

Do adults have childhood illnesses, and how dangerous is it?

Children are not the only ones suffering from "childhood" diseases. This is evidenced by the statistics collected by Rospotrebnadzor. For example, in 2018, 2,538 Russians were infected with a “childhood disease” called measles, with 1,124 adults. Compared to 2017, the total incidence of measles has tripled, and the number of sick adults has quadrupled.

This is a general trend: measles is increasingly being diagnosed not only in Russia but throughout the world. WHO believes that the main reason for the increase in incidence is a decrease in the number of vaccinated people.

"Childhood" diseases are dangerous for adults. For example, people over the age of 20 who have contracted the same measles often suffer from complications. WHO staff warn: the result of such complications can be lifelong disability - from cerebral disorders to blindness and hearing loss.

Do childhood vaccinations protect adults?

When a person grows up, most of the "childhood" diseases need to be vaccinated again so that the vaccine "shield" received in childhood is preserved.

However, there are infections that need to be vaccinated regularly throughout life. For example, diphtheria and tetanus should be vaccinated every 10 years from the last vaccination. If you miss the next vaccination, protection will not be as reliable, and the chance of infection remains.

How risky is it to be vaccinated against childhood diseases in adulthood?

From the point of view of the body's immune system, the introduction of a vaccine is a training wake-up call during which immune cells become familiar with dangerous microbes and learn to cope with them. If, after training on the vaccine, the immune cells meet pathogens, they will be ready to fight off the infection.

All vaccines are divided into three types:

Alive. Made from weakened microbes that are not capable of causing disease. All adults except pregnant women can be vaccinated with such vaccines - although the risk to the developing fetus from the introduction of live vaccines is considered purely theoretical. These are vaccines against chickenpox (chickenpox), measles, rubella and mumps (mumps).

Inactivated. Made from killed microbes. Such vaccines, in principle, are not capable of causing disease - after all, they are, in fact, just a harmless "cocktail" of microbial proteins. Inactivated vaccines are suitable for all people, including pregnant women.

The only exception is the human papillomavirus vaccine. Most likely, this vaccine is harmless to the fetus. But, since the vaccine has not yet been sufficiently studied in pregnant women, it is not recommended for women in the position to be vaccinated against HPV.

Toxoid. Made from neutralized bacterial toxin poisons. These vaccines, by definition, cannot infect anyone and are therefore recommended for all adults - even pregnant women.

Healthy adults have no contraindications to vaccination with all three types of vaccines. Only people with certain diseases have objective restrictions on vaccination.

Congenital or acquired disorders of the immune system (eg, HIV infection). In this situation, vaccinations should be discussed with a doctor - some vaccines may be contraindicated in people with immune diseases.

Severe allergy to vaccine components. This happens very rarely. But in order to definitely exclude possible reactions, newly vaccinated people are asked to sit in the corridor for half an hour. If during this time the reaction does not appear, you can safely go home.

People who have previously had allergic reactions to the components of any vaccine are not given the same vaccine again. Other vaccines (without these components) can be vaccinated.

There are only two temporary contraindications: this is the acute phase of an infectious disease (for example, if a person experiences symptoms of a cold or flu on the day of vaccination) and an exacerbation phase of any chronic disease (for example, if an acute attack of rheumatism occurred on the day of vaccination). In such cases, you need to wait until the person recovers.

Most adults do not experience any health problems after being vaccinated. The unpleasant sensations after the injection are weak: it can be mild pain and redness at the injection site, a slight increase in temperature, a short headache and discomfort in the muscles. Discomfort usually goes away without treatment in 1-2 days.

What vaccinations do adults need

The list of necessary vaccinations for different adults will vary. Let's consider the most common situations.

Adults who received vaccinations according to the National Calendar in childhood

● born before 1997 - get vaccinated once against measles, rubella and mumps

● who did not have chickenpox in childhood - get vaccinated against chickenpox once

● not vaccinated against human papillomavirus - vaccinate against HPV once.

For women, this vaccination brings maximum benefits - it reduces the risk of developing cancer of the cervix, vulva and vagina, anal cancer, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. It is most useful to vaccinate before the onset of sexual activity, at about 9-13 years old. But, according to new data, vaccinations can also benefit adult women - up to 45 years old. Although at this age, it makes sense to discuss the appropriateness of vaccination with your doctor.

There are benefits for men as well. The vaccine protects against penile cancer, anal and squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. It is better to be vaccinated before the onset of sexual activity or at least before the age of 27.

● all adults - once vaccinated against meningococcus (pathogens of four meningococcal serogroups: A, C, W and Y) and hepatitis A (for long-term immunity after the first dose of the vaccine, revaccination is required after 6-18 months), every 10 years to be vaccinated against diphtheria and tetanus, annually - from the flu

● people 50-65 years old - once from pneumococcal infection.

Travelers. There is no single vaccination schedule that is suitable for all people traveling abroad. A month before your trip, it is worthwhile to study the section for travelers on the CDC website: choose the state you need and find out what additional vaccinations you may need.

How to be someone who has never been vaccinated

If you do not have proof of vaccination (for example, a vaccination certificate, medical records or medical history), it is safer to consider yourself unvaccinated and see a GP.

To assess the immune response to childhood infections, a doctor may order a series of tests. There are enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) tests for antibodies to the hepatitis B virus (Anti-HBs antibodies), varicella (Varicella-Zoster Virus IgG), rubella (Anti-Rubella-IgG), measles (anti-Measles virus IgG), mumps (determination of IgM and IgG antibodies to mumps virus), to diphtheria toxoid (IgG Diphtheria Toxoid IgG Antibody), to pertussis toxin (IgG Bordetella pertussis) and to tetanus toxin (IgG Tetanus Toxoid). Sometimes such tests can save time - after all, in order to get stable immunity, some vaccinations need to be done several times.

The doctor will review all of your medical records before making a decision. This will help him create your personal vaccination schedule. Most likely, most of the vaccinations will have to be done in a private clinic for money.

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