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World Vaccine Week is Coming UP


Funguy
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World Vaccine Week is April 24 - 30.

 

My usual post each year reminding us we have responsibilities to ourselves AND to each other:

 

As I work with people regarding vaccine status all the time, and not just the kiddies, I feel that this is a topic too often ignored or maligned by adults, especially in our community.

 

There are always vaccine issues aired in the news regarding kids and I spend wayyyy too much time educating adults and banging my head against the brick walls of the anti-vaccine factions.

 

However, I think that as adults we often need to be reminded that these safety nets are not only available for us but recommended as well. There are also a number of newbies to the Forum and also newbies to the life style and you all may not be aware of what is out there for your protection.

 

I will not go into huge detail as the snowball will begin its roll soon enough: these are the basics with the caveat that there are high risk groups as well as groups in which some of these vaccines are contraindicated. It is an issue to discuss with your primary doctors. We have seen posts here re:dissatisfaction with some of the physicians we see and this will be one more topic to bring up and should not be poo-pooed by our doctors.

 

Tdap (adult form of DTaP given to kids): tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis - the most important is tetanus protection. Pertussis (whooping cough) is actually epidemic in certain parts of this country and is not an enjoyable infection to have. Won't kill you but 6-8 weeks of horrible cough and headache is not what I would like to experience again. This vaccine is extremely important if you have kids or grandkids and plan to see them often. They will thank you when they grow up. This should be given every 10 years except 5 years in the case of being around kids a lot (whether or not THEY have been immunized).

 

Pneumococcal Vaccine - recommended for those over 65 and in special circumstances (ask your physician).

This is for pneumonia caused by the Pneumococcus bacteria. It will not protect from all pneumonias, incl. viral, but as we age we are more susceptible. There are 2: PCV13 and PPSV23. They can be given in a series of 2 or only 1 may be necessary depending on circumstance. It can also be given under the age of 65 again depending on circumstances.

 

Chicken Pox - yep - still around. This vaccine is only needed in certain cases - discuss with your MD and you can get a simple test to determine your immunity. If you HAVE had chicken pox, it is not necessary BUT:

 

Zoster (Shingles) vaccine is recommended over the age of 65. If you have had chicken pox even as a child you are susceptible to shingles. Even if you have had shingles it can recur. This is a vaccine I would not miss.

Again, the age recommendation is not set in concrete but insurance may not cover it under 65.

 

Meningitis - the most prevalent cause of Meningococcal meningitis in this country is type C. There have been special outbreaks of type B in the past few years but rare. Type C vaccine is readily available. Think about a year or 2 ago there was a limited outbreak among gay men.

 

Hepatitis vaccines: Hepatitis A is common food-borne; Hep B is more commonly sexually transmitted and blood borne. A is a series of 2 injections; B is 3 injections. Simple and highly recommended!

Unfortunately there is no vaccine yet for C tho treatment options are now available.

 

HPV (human papillomavirus) - although "recommended" only until age 26 years, for an at risk population such as ours most would agree that it is especially needed. it prevents most cervical cancer in women but also throat cancers (think: Michael Douglas),penile cancer, anal/rectal cancers in men, as well as anal warts. You can get a blood test to check immunity but there are many subtypes and you would have to test for all. It is a series of 3 shots and many get the first and simply forget about #'s 2 and 3. DON"T. Insurance probably will NOT cover over age 26 but worth a try.

 

There are a few more for special cases and communication with your physician is imperative. If your physician is not aware of your sexual preferences he/she may simply say they are not necessary. If you are not monogamous (even that 1 night stand) you are at risk. If you have HIV or are otherwise immunocompromised there are additional recommendations for and against these vaccines).

 

Once you get the full series of each vaccine it is not necessary to get boosters except in the case of Tdap every 10 years.

 

Simply more to add to our plates.

 

I've had 'em all so i can remain,

 

Funguy

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HPV (human papillomavirus) - although "recommended" only until age 26 years, for an at risk population such as ours most would agree that it is especially needed. it prevents most cervical cancer in women but also throat cancers (think: Michael Douglas),penile cancer, anal/rectal cancers in men, as well as anal warts. You can get a blood test to check immunity but there are many subtypes and you would have to test for all. It is a series of 3 shots and many get the first and simply forget about #'s 2 and 3. DON"T. Insurance probably will NOT cover over age 26 but worth a try.

 

I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on the HPV vaccine and will probably ask my doctor to authorize it for me at my next annual appointment, even though it is not recommended for someone my age. Based on my research that has nothing to do with it not being safe or effective; rather, it’s because of some cost-benefit analysis the government has done. The trouble is that this analysis looks at population averages, not individual situations. Sure, on average, people tend to sleep around more when they’re younger than when they’re older, but there are certainly exceptions, and for many people, getting the HPV vaccine after age 26 makes a lot of sense. There’s a pretty thorough discussion of the issues in this article from a few years ago: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2013/01/who_should_get_the_hpv_vaccine_more_men_and_women_could_be_protected_from.html.

 

Some other interesting articles are: https://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/hpv-vaccine-over-age-26-is-it-worth-it/, http://www.webmd.com/vaccines/hpv-vaccine?page=2, http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/06/left-out-why-is-it-so-hard-for-older-women-to-get-the-hpv-vaccine/258611/

 

Assuming my doctor is willing to go outside the official recommendations, I will of course have to pay for the shots out-of-pocket. I have called around to a few pharmacies that provide Gardasil-9 (the new version of the vaccine covers 5 more strains) and the prices seem to range from $215 to $235 per shot, or about $650 to $700 total. Pretty steep, but I think it’s still worth it to me. The annoying thing is that one of the places I called (Walgreens I think) said they wouldn’t administer it since it is not “indicated” based on my age.

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Zoster (Shingles) vaccine is recommended over the age of 65. If you have had chicken pox even as a child you are susceptible to shingles. Even if you have had shingles it can recur. This is a vaccine I would not miss.

Again, the age recommendation is not set in concrete but insurance may not cover it under 65.

 

Given that many of my friends and extended family are approaching or have passed the age of 60, we've had debates about the shingles vaccine. Here's the argument I've heard against the vaccination: It reduces the changes of getting shingles by only 50% so why bother? On top of that, only 30% of Americans will get shingles anyway. I've always been healthy, so I doubt I'll ever get it. If I do, I'll just grit my way through it.

 

What this argument doesn't consider is how severe and debilitating shingles can be, especially if you develop postherpetic neuralgia (this is 20% of those who get shingles). Although the vaccine only reduces chances of getting shingles by 50%, it reduces changes of postherpetic neuralgia by 67%. Do some research on postherpetic neuralgia. It makes the case for the shingles vaccine a lot stronger.

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