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Protecting Against Infectious Diseases Beyond Flu Season

April 19, 2018 | Pharmacy

While communities begin to feel the relief of an extremely harsh flu season, it’s important to remember that adults require ongoing vaccinations to stay healthy and avoid health costs beyond just influenza. Unfortunately, unnecessary hospital care and loss of productivity remain significant effects of the underutilization of adult immunizations. According to a study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, unvaccinated adults cost the U.S. economy (either in health care costs or in loss of productivity) $8.95 billion in 2015.

Vaccines are regularly tracked and covered during child well-visits; though the role of vaccines in a healthy adulthood is less talked about, it is no less important. As we age, the immune system weakens, leading to increased risks for vaccine-preventable diseases.

Remaining diligent about prevention, and seeking guidance of a community health professional if needed, could go a long way toward making sure people avoid vaccine-preventable complications and stay healthy year-round. At CVS Health, we’re committed to delivering safe, quality vaccinations year-round to ensure that adults can protect themselves.

Know what Vaccinations You Need

Adults need vaccinations throughout different stages of their lives. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a brief quiz that can help you and your family understand what vaccinations are recommended through the adult immunization schedule.

Beyond the annual flu vaccine, required adult vaccinations typically include:

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Shingles
  • Pneumococcal
  • Hepatitis B

Other vaccinations you may need include those that protect against HPV (human papillomavirus, which can cause certain cancers), hepatitis A, meningococcal disease, chickenpox (varicella), and measles, mumps, and rubella.

High-Quality Preventive Care Closer Than You Think

Pharmacists provide accessible, affordable support to help navigate preventive care needs. Pharmacists’ authority to administer vaccinations has been expanding in recent years, enabling people to get immunizations – like the traditional flu vaccine and the new shingles vaccine – closer to home. This is especially important for older Americans, who may have decreased mobility or rely on a caregiver for transportation, but also convenient for the majority of adults who find themselves in a pharmacy at least once a month.

MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants across the country enhance pharmacists’ care by offering vaccinations for many common conditions, including pneumonia, Hepatitis B and others important for adult health. What’s more, local pharmacists and MinuteClinic practitioners can serve as a one-stop shop for support and counseling to help manage care beyond vaccines, including medication counseling, medication therapy management and preventive screenings.

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve access to quality care across the nation, visit our Quality & Access information center and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.