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According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), “in the U.S., vaccines have greatly reduced or eliminated many infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed infants, children, and adults. However, the viruses and bacteria that cause these diseases still exist and you can still get these diseases if you aren’t vaccinated.”

From infancy through adulthood, vaccines work with your body’s natural defense system to safely help you develop immunity to a number of serious diseases. In addition to providing protection to your body, staying current on vaccinations lowers your chance of spreading disease, especially to those with weaker immune systems.

Recommended vaccinations by age

Protection from some vaccines you may have received as a child can wear off.  As an adult, your job, lifestyle, travel or health conditions may put you at greater risk for certain diseases, and there could be additional vaccinations you may need.

CDC guidelines for immunizations are as follows:

Adult Vaccine Quiz

Adults 19 and older can take the CDC’s Adult Vaccine Quiz to learn what vaccines may be needed and discuss the results with your primary care physician.

Immunization clinics

Pediatricians and adult primary care physicians administer many vaccines, as well as order others that are supplied by a pharmacy.

Additionally, the public health and wellness department of the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) of Cape Cod provides many additional programs that typically take place outside the home. As part of town nursing across the Cape, these also include immunization clinics for children and adults, as well as flu vaccinations.

VNA of Cape Cod is recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as the leader in immunizations for public health clinics for Cape Cod.

For a full listing of current immunization clinics, including locations, dates and times, please contact the Public Health and Wellness Department of the VNA at 800-631-3900.

HPV Prevention

HPV, human papillomavirus, has infected about 80 million Americans, making it the most common sexually transmitted infections in the US. Around 80% of sexually active men and women will have HPV during their lives.

While some who contract the virus have no symptoms, and infected cells return to normal, some strains of this virus can cause cancers of the cervix, penis, anus, tongue, tonsils and throat.

In women, up to 95% of cervical cancers are caused by HPV, but it’s not just women for whom this virus can be dangerous. Cancers of the mouth, throat and soft palate in both men and women have been linked to HPV and 93% of cancer of the anus is linked to the virus, as well. These cancers can show up many years after the original infection.

There is no cure for HPV, but a vaccine administered to boys and girls at age 11 or 12 can prevent contracting this virus.

Learn more about HPV by visiting The National Cancer Institute HPV fact sheet.