Current adult Vaccination Recommendations in India
At present, there is no mandatory vaccination recommendation for adults in India, except for the tetanoid Toxoid (TT) vaccination, made mandatory during pregnancy.
The National Centre for Disease Control, Directorate General of Health Services, Government of India recommends the below-mentioned vaccinations for adults, owing to the high prevalence of these diseases in India.
Vaccines for Special Populations
Women who are thinking about having babies are advised to ensure they are up to date on their vaccinations with their healthcare providers.
The MMR vaccine prevents the risk of rubella infection during pregnancy and possible birth defects in the baby. Those receiving either the MMR or Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine should wait for at least four weeks before becoming pregnant. If a woman is already pregnant, she should wait to get either of these vaccines until after delivery.
Pregnant women are also advised to receive an influenza vaccine during the flu season. Expectant mothers are at a higher risk of complication from influenza as compared to the general population. Studies have shown that babies whose mothers were immunized against influenza during pregnancy are less likely to have influenza in the first few months of life before they can be immunized against the disease.
Women should also receive one dose of the Tdap vaccine between the 27 and 36-week gestation during every pregnancy. This vaccination is timed to protect the baby from pertussis (whooping cough) during the first few months of life before his or her vaccinations can provide protection. While it can be administered any time during this window, earlier is better to allow for maximal protection for the baby.
Rubella vaccination at Manipal Hospital, Bangalore is one that is recommended for all children as it protects them against three of the most severe illnesses.
Healthcare workers (HCW) are at higher risks of various infections owing to their profession and proximity to patients with various conditions.
All HCW are strongly recommended to receive vaccination for MMR and Chickenpox.
They should receive a Hepatitis B vaccine if they could be exposed to blood or body fluids.
All HCW working in a laboratory environment should receive the Meningococcal vaccine, as they are at high risk of getting the infection.
Additionally, all HCW especially those with direct patient contact should receive an Influenza shot every year.
Specific vaccines are required for travelling to specific regions of the world. This information can be obtained from the health/immigration authorities of specific countries as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
People travelling to other countries should check with their primary healthcare physicians, local health department or a travel clinic to be sure they receive the necessary immunizations. It is important to begin this process as early as possible because:
Some vaccines require more than one dose to be effective and minimum intervals are required between doses
Many healthcare professionals do not store travel vaccines because of a lack of demand for them. They might need to order the vaccine or refer you to a particular centre
Travel vaccines are not always covered by insurance, so you will have time to find out what is covered and what are your expenses, in case your family is travelling too
For example, the WHO recommends vaccination for Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Meningitis, Hepatitis B and Rabies for Hajj pilgrims. Proof of meningitis vaccination is required to take part in Hajj. Routine immunizations against Measles or Pertussis are also recommended if you have not received them.
Similarly, the WHO recommends Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, cholera, Yellow fever, Japanese Encephalitis, Rabies, Meningitis, Polio, measles, MMR, Tdap, chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and Influenza vaccinations for all those travelling to India.
You are Never too Old to Get Vaccinated
Our immunity plays a major role in providing protection against various infections. Thus a low immunity at any point of a person’s life is associated with a high risk of infections.
The good news is that there are several vaccines available nowadays, which can help you to keep these infections at bay. Vaccination not only protects an individual from developing life-threatening diseases but also helps protect others by reducing the spread of infections.
However, as compared to child immunization programmes being successfully carried out, adult immunization remains largely a neglected aspect of the Indian healthcare system.
The Manipal Group of Hospitals is one of the very few institutions in India which considers adult vaccination as a public health priority. Apart from the availability of a wide range of vaccines, the hospital also provides reliable vaccination-related counselling and infectious disease services for adults. MMR vaccination schedule in Bangalore is as per update by the update by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics and is a two-shot series that is usually given during childhood.
Prevalence of Vaccine-preventable Disease among Adults in India
Vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD) are a common cause of infections and related deaths in India, even among adults. Unvaccinated adults can act as a reservoir of infection and transmit it to others such as their children. The burden of infectious disease in India is estimated to rise sharply in the coming years owing to the increasing incidence of antibiotic resistance.
Why should every Adult Consider Getting Vaccinated?
Adults are 100 times more likely than children to die from VPD every year. They need to get vaccinated for the following reasons, even if they are covered by all childhood vaccinations:
Some vaccines do not provide lifelong immunity. So additional doses are necessary as adults. Examples include tetanus, Diptheria and pertussis.
To protect against diseases that have not been encountered. For example, the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine has led to lesser exposure to the varicella virus. But since adults with chickenpox tend to be more ill, it is important for them to get vaccinated, if they haven’t already.
Slowing down of the body’s natural immune responses due to factors of old age, obesity, heart disease, stroke or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The infective agent changes over time, making older vaccinations ineffective against them. Examples include influenza vaccines.