Flu

Rebecca McElhoe/Purdue University

Rebecca McElhoe/Purdue University

When getting a flu shot, take a few moments to review the status of other key vaccinations, says a Purdue University nursing professor.

WEST LAFAYETTE — With many employers requiring proof of flu vaccination this year, a Purdue University nursing expert is encouraging people to use this opportunity to review the status of other key vaccinations that might need updated.

Libby Richards, an associate professor of nursing who specializes in public health at Purdue’s School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Sciences, says it’s important to keep vaccinations up-to-date because immunity can decrease as people age.

“Getting a flu vaccine isn’t just about individual health, it’s about family and community health,” Richards said. “High rates of flu vaccination reduce the chance the virus can spread and protects those who are unable to be vaccinated, such as babies less than 6 months old.

“Getting the flu shot is the best prevention strategy because we can’t predict how people will react if they get sick.”

The flu vaccine is just one of many vaccines that help fight off infections and viruses in not just you, but others.

“Vaccinations aren’t just for kids – adults need them, too,” Richards said. “They are one of the most important tools we have in public health, and keeping vaccines up-to-date is vital for personal and community protection.”

She said many people have let annual wellness visits lapse during the COVID-19 pandemic, which places people at risk for more disease outbreaks that would normally be under control due to proper vaccination.

Recommended vaccinations depend on one’s age and past medical history. Adults 65 and older should get one dose of the pneumoccoal vaccine (pneumonia). Adults 50 and older should get two doses of the shingles vaccine. Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) and Hepatitis B vaccines are also encouraged, Richards said.