Why would someone have never gotten any vaccines and need to catch up?
The usual story is that a child’s vaccines were delayed or skipped for some reason, typically over fears of anti-vaccine propaganda.
You can always get caught up though, right?
Well, not always…
Tragically, kids can get sick and catch these vaccine-preventable diseases before they have time to get vaccinated and protected. You can wait too long to get vaccinated!
How Do You Get Caught up If You Have Never Been Vaccinated?
That’s why it is important to get caught up as soon as possible.
How does that work?
The first step is figuring out which vaccines you need, considering that:
- rotavirus vaccines are only given up to age 9-months
- Hib and Prevnar are typically only given up to age 5-years, unless someone has specific conditions that put them at high risk for disease, although Prevnar becomes routine again at age 65-years
- the polio vaccine is typically only given up to age 18-years
- the meningococcal vaccines (MenACWY and MenB) are routinely given to teens and young adults through age 16 to 23-years, but older high-risk adults can also be vaccinated if necessary
- the HPV vaccines are routinely given up to age 26-years, although they are FDA approved to be given through age 45 years
- hepatitis A vaccines are routinely given to children and teens, but are recommended for high-risk adults, including those who travel out of the country or just want to be protected
- hepatitis B vaccines are routinely given to children and teens, but are recommended for high-risk adults, including those who travel out of the country or just want to be protected
- the Pneumovax (PPSV23) and shingles vaccines are given to seniors
- if you already had a natural case of chicken pox, while you won’t need to be vaccinated, some folks might need a varicella titer to confirm that they are immune
So, depending on your age when you are starting your catch-up, there may be some vaccines that you don’t need anymore.
Still, unless you have a contraindication, you will likely at least need:
- a yearly flu vaccine
- 1 to 2 doses (high risk groups) of MMR
- 2 doses of the chicken pox vaccine (Varivax)
- 1 dose of Tdap, followed by 2 doses of Td
Once you have an idea of which vaccines you need, you should schedule an appointment with your health care provider and get vaccinated and protected.
A local pharmacy or health department are other places that might offer vaccines to older teens and adults.
More on Getting Caught up on Vaccines
- VAXOPEDIA – Parents Who Regret Not Vaccinating Their Kids
- VAXOPEDIA – How Can I Get Vaccinated If My Parents Are Anti-Vaccine?
- VAXOPEDIA – Catch-Up Immunization Plans for Adults
- VAXOPEDIA – Catch-Up Immunization Schedules
- VAXOPEDIA – Catching up on 17 Years Worth of Vaccinations to Attend College
- VAXOPEDIA – How Often Should You Do Vaccine Titer Testing?
- CDC – The Adult Vaccine Assessment Tool
- CDC – Recommended Immunization Schedule for Adults Aged 19 Years or Older, United States 2018
- CDC – Catch-Up Immunization Schedule for Persons Aged 4 Months Through 18 Years Who Start Late or Who Are More Than 1 Month Behind
- WHO – Recommendations for Interrupted or Delayed Routine Immunization
- Vaccinations for Adults You’re never too old to get vaccinated!
- Vaccines for Adults
- Catch-Up or Accelerated Schedule Creator
- Guidance for Catch-Up of a Vaccine Series in Adults
- Adults Need Vaccines, Too
- Have I Been Vaccinated?
- From Avoiding Vaccines to Getting A Child Caught Up: Where To Start?
- What if a child has never been immunized?
- Growing Up Unvaccinated
- Is my unvaccinated family putting my child at risk?
- Are you an unvaccinated adult? Here’s what you need to know about catching up
- Thousands of unvaccinated adults die each year from preventable diseases in the U.S.