As teenagers prepare to finish high school and head off to college, they have a lot of things on their minds – keeping up with vaccinations probably isn’t one of them.
It’s vital for young adults to understand that Mom and Dad may not remind them any more of which vaccines they need to stay healthy, and it’s up to them to be responsible for their own well-being. That’s where their healthcare provider can help.
Young adults may believe that they only need to go to the doctor when they are sick or hurt, so it’s important to chat with them about what vaccines are recommended for their age group and why. As their healthcare provider, you can help them transition to a healthy adulthood.
Dr. Karla Loken of Henry County Hospital agrees. “Please make your patients aware of vaccine-preventable diseases and the availability of life-saving vaccines in your office today. No one wants to meet you in the ER and hear that their illness was preventable!“
When speaking with young adults about vaccine schedules, sharing facts and stories about the importance of vaccines can be more effective than simply telling them to get a shot. Hearing about the consequences of not being vaccinated may be a more persuasive tactic. Also, teach them about herd immunity and how by vaccinating themselves, they’re keeping thousands of others who cannot be vaccinated safely. By staying up-to-date with their own immunizations, they’re helping to keep their entire community healthy.
Making it easy to get their recommended vaccinations is a further incentive. Try offering convenient hours and walk-in appointments. If getting their flu shot, HPV, or MenB vaccine is hassle-free, they are far more likely to get vaccinated.
Be open, be honest, and let them know that by getting vaccinated, they can help keep themselves, their family, and their community healthy for years to come.
Recommended immunizations for adults by age: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/adult/adult-schedule-easy-read.pdf