September 2013 > Heading

Be a Wise Healthcare Consumer

Vaccines: Mark Your Calendar to Keep Them Current

It’s common at the start of a new school year to make sure your children’s vaccinations are up to date. Many adults may assume the vaccines they received as children were the only ones they needed. But you never outgrow the need for immunizations. There are many reasons why adults may need to be vaccinated, too.

First, you may not have received certain vaccines as a child and may still benefit from getting them as an adult. Second, your immunity can fade over time. Third, newer vaccines have become available and you may be a candidate for one or more that were not available when you were a child. And, finally, some vaccines are short-term and meant to be given regularly, such as the flu shot.

As we age, we become more susceptible to serious disease that can be caused by common infections (such as flu and pneumococcus).

Fighting the Flu

In the battle against the flu, vaccination remains the strongest weapon.

Ideally, you should get a flu shot as soon as it's available, particularly if you are in a higher risk group, including seniors, infants and children, and those with chronic health conditions. Flu season can begin as early as October. As flu season approaches, you can check flu.gov for information about this year's shot, including where to find it in your area.

Many UT Institutions also offer opportunities to receive the flu vaccine at work. As flu season approaches, you should contact your institution's HR or Benefits Office to get details about flu shots possibly being offered at your location this year.

Other Vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers several online resources, including various schedules, a quiz, and an interactive tool, designed to help you figure out which vaccines are recommended for you based on your age, overall health status, and medical history. Talk with your doctor to determine which vaccines are important for you to receive.

Remember, with your UT SELECT Medical and Prescription coverage, you can get many immunizations and other preventive care services without having to pay deductibles, copayments or coinsurance when you use a network provider.

Sources: Flu.gov, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention