Fulton Health Services Promotes Adult Immunizations to Protect Young against Pertussis | Print |

Immunizations are not just for children, adults also need to be current with their vaccines. Rising cases of whooping cough and seasonal flu prompted experts to revise adult vaccination recommendations.Changes in the 2011 recommendations reflect efforts to protect adults and young, vulnerable children they may encounter. The dose and timing of a relatively new vaccine for adults, Tdap, have been updated.

The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is extremely dangerous for infants and young children.

Adults infected with pertussis may not know it, since their symptoms are typically mild. This means an adult could unknowingly infect a susceptible child or unvaccinated infant with the disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy adults age 19 years and older need to get a tetanus booster every 10 years since immunity to tetanus disease decreases over time. The booster is typically a Td vaccine, helping to protect against tetanus and diphtheria.

The newest immunization schedule includes the following recommendations:

All adults need a one-time dose of the Tdap vaccine (Tetanus, diphtheria, acelluar pertussis).

  • If an adult is due for a tetanus booster, they should ask for the Tdap vaccine instead.  
  • If an adult recently got a tetanus booster, and will be around infants and young children, they should get the Tdap booster. There is no need to wait.
  • Adults 65 years or older who anticipate being around infants, should get a Tdap regardless of the timing of their last Td booster.

Specific immunizations needed as an adult are determined by factors such as age, lifestyle, high-risk conditions, type and locations of travel, and previous immunizations. Throughout adult life, immunizations may be needed to get and maintain protection:

  • Seasonal influenza (flu) (In general, anyone who is 6 months or older can benefit from the protection of a flu vaccination.)    
  • Shingles (for adults 60 years and older)
  • Pneumococcal disease (for adults 65 years and older and adults with specific health conditions)

 Effective tracking of adult immunizations is important to help avoid getting redundant or unnecessary vaccinations.   In Georgia, adults can track adult immunizations by registering with the Georgia Registry of Immunization Transaction and Services (GRITS).   GRITS provides quick access to complete immunization history.

 Adult immunizations are available at Fulton County health centers.   Fees are assessed on a sliding fee scale based on income.

 Fulton County health center locations:

  •  Adamsville Health Center - 3699 Bakers Ferry Rd., SW, Atlanta, 404-699-4215            
  • Center Hill Health Center - 3201 Atlanta Indus. Pkwy., Atlanta, 404-699-6370
  • College Park Regional Health Center -1920 John E. Wesley Ave., College Park, 404-613-8865
  • Center for Health and Rehabilitation – 265 Boulevard, NE, Atlanta, 404-730-5835
  • Neighborhood Union Health Center – 186 Sunset Ave., NW, Atlanta, 404-612-4665
  • North Fulton Regional Health Center – 3155 Royal Drive, Alpharetta, 404-332-1834
  • North Fulton Service Center – 7741 Roswell Rd., Sandy Springs, 404-612-2273

For more information about immunizations and Fulton County health centers, visit www.fultoncountygahealth.org.   Visit www.cdc.gov for more information about adult immunizations.  For more information about GRITS, visit the Georgia Immunization Program Website http://dph.georgia.gov/georgia-immunization-registry-grits or call 404-657-3158.