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Vaccines for adults


Are there vaccines for adults? Can you list them down and discuss each briefly.


There are indeed vaccines for adults. Some are for those who have not been previously immunized either as children or adults while a few are to serve as booster doses to maintain the person’s immunity to certain diseases. There are also some vaccines that are intended specifically for adults, particularly older adults. These are for diseases that the elderly are prone to.

Below is a listing and a brief description of the vaccines that are recommended for adults in the general population. The list is consistent with the latest (2015) recommendations of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination. Those vaccines such as meningococcal, rabies, typhoid, and hepatitis A vaccines that are recommended only for special categories of people (e.g., health care workers) have been excluded from the list.

Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis vaccine (Tdap vaccine)

This vaccine prevents tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).The small “d” and “p” indicate a much smaller quantity of diphtheria and pertussis toxoids than in the pediatric DTaP formulation. For those who have not been previously immunized, the vaccine is administered in three doses, the 2nd dose after a month and the 3rd five to 11 months later. For continuous immunity, those who have been previously immunized should be given a booster dose of the vaccine (Td) every 10 years after the primary series has been completed.

Influenza quadrivalent vaccine or influenza trivalent vaccine

These vaccines are designed to prevent influenza or flu, which could be a serious illness especially among the elderly. The strains of the influenza virus that are contained in the vaccines vary from year to year. Thus, either vaccine has to be administered annually preferably between February and June.

The trivalent form protects against three strains of influenza virus while the tetravalent form protects against another strain the flu virus, in addition to the strains covered by the trivalent form.

HepB vaccine

This vaccine prevents hepatitis B, the most common underlying cause of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer among Filipinos. The vaccine is given in three doses—the dosing schedule depends on the brand of the vaccine. No booster dose is needed.

Varicella vaccine

This vaccine is for immunity to chickenpox. It is administered in two doses at four to eight weeks interval and does not require booster doses.

MMR vaccine

This vaccine is against measles, mumps, and German measles (rubella). It is given in two doses, one month apart. The two doses are usually sufficient to confer lifetime immunity against the three diseases.

Pneumococcal vaccine

The pneumococcal vaccine confers immunity against the most common cause of pneumonia among adult, the streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. It is recommended for adults who are 50 years old and older. There are two types of the vaccine that are currently available, Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine (PCV13) andPneumoccoccalpolysaccharide vaccine (PPSV) vaccine. The schedule of administration of these vaccines is best explained by a physician.

Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine

This vaccine confers immunity to the most common types of human papillary viruses that are responsible for cervical cancers. It is recommended for females nine to 55 years old and for males 10 to 26 years old. There are two forms of the vaccine available. The schedule of their administration is best explained by a physician.

Herpes zoster vaccine

This vaccine protects against herpes zoster or shingles (kulebra, in Filipino), a viral disease characterized by a very painful skin rash with blisters that usually heals within two to four weeks, but, which in some people, may give rise to nerve pain that may last for months or years. The vaccine is recommended for people who are 50 years old or older.  It is given as a single dose.

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