Vaccinations: Immunisation Boosters for Adults

Often overlooked, adult vaccinations are key to preventing the onset of disease and maintaining good health.

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Think you’ve outgrown vaccines? You may be surprised to learn that there are many important and recommended immunisations for adults to prevent various diseases and help you stay healthy, especially if you are constantly travelling and at higher risk of exposure to bugs and illnesses abroad. 

Types of Vaccines for Adults

There are a few types of vaccines such as the influenza and TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccines that should be taken for your general well-being. These vaccines make up for missed routine childhood shots and also boost your immunity against common diseases like the flu.

TDAP Vaccine

This vaccine prevents tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. All adults who have not previously had a dose should get this vaccination. Booster shots are administered once every 10 years.

Related: Diphtheria

Influenza Vaccine

All adults and children above the age of six should receive an influenza vaccine annually.

Related: Influenza

Pneumococcal Vaccine

Targeted at adults above the age of 65, this vaccine prevents pneumococcal pneumonia — a bacterial lung infection that, if not treated, can lead to hospitalisation and fatal consequences. Adults below the age of 65 with conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, or who have lower immunity due to an organ transplant, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or cancer, should also get vaccinated.


Meningococcal Vaccine

This vaccine prevents meningococcal meningitis, a bacterial brain infection. Adults living in dormitories, or travelling to Saudi Arabia or parts of Africa, are advised to have this shot. Booster shots should be taken once every three to five years.


Travel Vaccine

These should be administered 10 to 14 days before departure, and are suitable for both adults and children.


Hepatitis A Vaccine

Travelling to a developing country? This vaccine prevents you from contracting hepatitis A, a viral infection of the liver. A booster shot should be taken six months after the initial dose.

Related: Hepatitis A

Typhoid Vaccine

Typhoid is a bacterial blood infection typically contracted from contaminated food or water, which may be common in developing countries. You will need a booster shot every three years thereafter.

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine

Present in rural areas of Southeast Asia and India, Japanese encephalitis is a mosquito-borne viral infection that can lead to brain inflammation. A booster shot should be taken one to two years after the initial dose, and subsequent booster shots should be administered once every 10 years.

Rabies Vaccine

Transmitted through mammal bites, rabies can be fatal. Those embarking on long-term travel to countries with incidence of rabies, as well as those who work with or are exposed to animals, should receive a dose of this vaccine. The primary course of vaccination involves three shots taken over one month.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

Those travelling to South America or Africa should get vaccinated to prevent yellow fever, a mosquito-borne viral infection that could be fatal. A single vaccine is valid for life. As the vaccine is a live virus vaccine, there is a very small risk that you may develop a yellow fever-like illness that can result in hospitalisation.

Expect some temporary bruising, swelling and a slight fever after some vaccinations. Patients should remain in the clinic for 15 minutes after the vaccination to check for any allergic reaction to the vaccine, although these occurences are rare. If in doubt, do consult your doctor. The Ministry of Health recommends that those heading for yellow fever-endemic countries get vaccinated at least 10 days before travelling. 

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