Vaccines All Men Should Know About

We all remember the passage from childhood to adulthood, marked by events like our 21st birthday party, earning the right to vote or obtaining a driver's license. Who can forget the rush of hearing that car engine crank the first time we had our card to independence. You might have also thought that becoming an adult means no more immunization shots. Well, not exactly.

"As you transition into your adult years, you continue to need updated immunizations or boosters as you are continually exposed to potential illnesses," explains Dr. Rajy Abulhosn, an occupational medicine physician at Sharp Rees-Stealy Genesee.

Additionally, mom and dad are not there to take you to regular checkups, making it extremely important that you take personal responsibility to stay up-to-date on immunizations. Since studies have shown that men are three times more likely than women to not see their doctor for regular, preventive health care, men are potentially at a higher risk for developing illnesses simply because their immunization rate is not as good.

The following is a list of immunizations needed for adult males:

  • Influenza shot: Should be given annually to all adult men, regardless of age.
  • Pneumococcal vaccine: Healthy adult men should be given one dose over 65 years of age. Men between 19 and 64 years old may receive earlier if risk factors are present, including chronic cardiac or pulmonary disease (including asthma), chronic liver disease, alcoholism, diabetes and cigarette smoking. A one-time revaccination is required if:
    • You are 65 and the first dose was given prior to age 65 and five years have elapsed since first dose, or
    • You are between 19 and 64 years of age and are at high risk of fatal pneumococcal infection and five years have passed since your first dose.
  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella): Males born after 1957 should receive a second booster dose as an adult. Men in high-risk groups, such as health care personnel and international travelers, should also receive a total of two doses. Males born before 1957 are usually considered immune if they have received one immunization.
  • Varicella (chicken pox): Two doses separated by four to eight weeks if no proof of prior immunity exists.
  • Zoster (shingles): Males age 60 years old and over should receive this one-time vaccination to prevent shingles.
  • Td/Tdap (tetanus shot/tetanus and pertussis): For males, a tetanus booster (Td) shot should be given every 10 years. For the Tdap (tetanus booster and pertussis), one Tdap shot should be given to every male under the age of 65. Additionally, males 65 and older who are in contact with infants younger than 12 months or who work in the healthcare field should receive a Tdap booster.
  • Polio: Not routinely recommended for men over the age of 18; however, a booster may be required for international travel.
  • Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, HPV, Meningococcal: May be appropriate for adults who are traveling, working in health care, suffering from certain medical conditions, engaging in specific types of behaviors or working with young children.
Be sure to talk to your doctor about these immunizations and stay on schedule for this all-important part of your health care.