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6 Routine Vaccines Every Adult Should Have

Routine vaccinations are an integral part of preventive healthcare, offering crucial protection against a wide array of diseases. Led by our dedicated Nursing team, we make keeping your immunizations up-to-date convenient and comprehensive. In this guide, we will delve into the importance of essential vaccines for adults, exploring possible symptoms and side effects.

By staying on top of your vaccinations, you are taking a proactive approach in managing your health.

6 Routine Vaccines Every Adult Should Have

1. Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis

The combined Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis vaccine should be repeated every 10 years. If you can’t remember getting a booster for this vaccine, please speak to your care team for guidance.

Tetanus is a bacteria found in the soil, so be careful of injuries that come into contact with soil or dust. Diphtheria spreads through droplets when someone coughs, sneezes, or talks, so protect yourself from respiratory infections. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, can cause a long-lasting cough and is particularly dangerous for young children.

The side effects for this combined vaccine are usually mild, like a sore arm or flu-like symptoms.

2. Flu

To keep yourself protected from the flu, your best defense is an annual influenza vaccine. Influenza spreads quickly and easily through droplets, which are expelled when someone sneezes, coughs, laughs or otherwise exhales in some way. These droplets can land on people up to 1 meter away, and inhaled into their lungs. Indirectly, people may also contact a surface that the virus has landed on and spread it to themselves by touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.

The vaccine covers a range of circulating strains each year and any side effects are usually mild, like a mild flu-like symptoms or a sore arm.

3. RSV

A new vaccine has recently been approved to protect Canadians from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a highly contagious virus. It is a common virus that affects the lungs and airways and is a major cause of severe respiratory illness in older adults and infants. Those with chronic heart or lung disease and weakened immune systems have the biggest risk of infection.

Arexvy is recommended for all adults over the age of 60. The highest rates of RSV occur in the fall and winter, so the vaccine should be given in October or November. Study results show that one dose of the vaccine is effective for at least 2 years. Side effects can include a moderately sore arm lasting up to a week (on average 3 days) and mild to moderate flu-like symptoms.

4. Pneumonia

Prevnar 20 is the latest vaccine to help prevent pneumonia caused by the strep. pneumonia bacteria. Strep. pneumonia is spread by droplets (similar to the flu above) and can cause pneumonia and meningitis.

This single-dose vaccine is recommended for all adults aged 50 and above and/or those with chronic illnesses. The side effects are usually mild and can include a sore arm and mild flu-like symptoms.

5. Shingles

If you’re an adult over the age of 50 or someone with a chronic illness, you should consider the Shingrix vaccine. It provides protection against shingles, which occurs when the chickenpox virus reactivates due to age and/or stress. The side effects can include a moderately sore arm lasting up to a week (on average 3 days) and mild to moderate flu-like symptoms.

Shingrix consists of 2 injections, spaced 2-6 months apart.

6. Cancer – HPV

Gardasil 9 is recommended for anyone that has been sexually active and offers protection from the cancer causing human papilloma virus. HPV is a common infection that 75-90% of Canadians will encounter in their lifetime and can cause cervical, genital, head and neck cancers. The virus can take up to 30 years to develop into cancer, so the vaccine is important even if you have had the same partner for many years.

Health Canada approved this vaccine for everyone over the age of 9. Side effects are generally mild: possible sore arm and mild flu like symptoms. Gardasil is given in a series of 3 injections at 0, 2, and 6 months intervals.

Bonus: Travel vaccines and general disease prevention

If you are planning to travel, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with certain diseases. Some of these diseases can be prevented through vaccination, while others cannot. Take a proactive step by booking a travel health assessment with a member of our nursing team. During the assessment, you can discuss the potential risks in the countries you plan to visit. Your health and well-being are vital, so make sure to stay informed and take proper precautions for a safe journey.

Being proactive about your health means staying on track with your vaccinations. At Harrison, our Nurses are committed to offering convenient and comprehensive immunization services, which protect against a wide range of diseases. By keeping your vaccines up-to-date, you’re taking care of your well-being and those around you.


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We would like to acknowledge with gratitude that we operate on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations in Vancouver, and of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Mountain Nakoda Nations, and the Métis Nation (Region 3) in Calgary. With appreciation, we recognize that these lands have been stewarded by them since time immemorial.

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