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Can adults be safely and effectively immunised?

Q: I am a 27 year old single male living in Bangalore. My mother had ensured that I had been vaccinated with all the available vaccines in my childhood. I have taken vaccination to prevent Hepatitis B 6 months back. Now I understand that vaccinations are available in the market to prevent Jaundice, Chickenpox and Typhoid. I wanted to know whether these vaccinations will be effective for a person of my age. If yes, are there any side effects for these vaccinations? Should I consult a doctor before I take these vaccinations?

A:Yes, even adults of your age can be safely and effectively immunised to protect them from various diseases. However, many adults who have not been immunised earlier do tend to get natural immunisation from sub-clinical (inapparent) or actual (disease) infection in childhood or later. These adults are thus already protected from these diseases and vaccination will not offer any additional benefit to them. The key issue then is to determine if the adult is already protected from the disease in question. For this you may need to get some blood tests done or consult a doctor. However, as a generalisation, it is important to note that you should take a full course of the vaccination (for example three doses of Heptitis B). Tetanus immunisation boosters are desirable every ten years as the immunity wanes off. Also typhoid immunisation at 3 years intervals can be considered if you frequently eat out or water supply is poor. Chances are that you are already protected from Hepatitis A and chicken pox.

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