October 12, 2020

Flu vaccines are important, but so is keeping other vaccinations updated

Note to journalists: A high-res photo of Libby Richards and a high-res photo of a Purdue student receiving a flu shot are available in a Google Drive. Richards is available for phone or web-based video interviews. Please contact Matthew Oates at oatesw@purdue.edu for information. Journalists visiting campus should follow visitor health guidelines.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — With many employers requiring proof of flu vaccination this year, a Purdue University nursing expert is encouraging people to use this opportunity to review the status of other key vaccinations that might need updated.

Libby Richards, an associate professor of nursing who specializes in public health at Purdue’s School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Sciences, says it’s important to keep vaccinations up-to-date because immunity can decrease as people age.

“Getting a flu vaccine isn’t just about individual health, it’s about family and community health,” Richards says. “High rates of flu vaccination reduce the chance the virus can spread and protects those who are unable to be vaccinated, such as babies less than 6 months old. Getting the flu shot is the best prevention strategy because we can’t predict how people will react if they get sick.”

The flu vaccine is just one of many vaccines that help fight off infections and viruses in not just you, but others.

richards-flu Libby Richards, associate professor of nursing in Purdue’s College of Health and Human Sciences (Purdue University photo/Rebecca McElhoe)

“Vaccinations aren’t just for kids – adults need them, too,” Richards says. “They are one of the most important tools we have in public health, and keeping vaccines up-to-date is vital for personal and community protection. Many people have let annual wellness visits lapse during the COVID-19 pandemic, which places us at risk for more disease outbreaks that would normally be under control due to proper vaccination.”

Recommended vaccinations depend on one’s age and past medical history. Adults 65 and older should get one dose of the Pneumoccoal vaccine (pneumonia). Adults 50 and older should get two doses of the shingles vaccine. Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) and Hepatitis B vaccines are also encouraged, Richards says. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a vaccine self-assessment tool to help people figure out the correct vaccination and timing.

Richards says if you are uncertain of visiting a health care provider for wellness visits and vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic, call ahead and learn about the providers’ safety requirements, such as masking, hand sanitizing or new check-in procedures.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.

Writer, Media contact: Matthew Oates, 765-586-7496 (cell), oatesw@purdue.edu, @mo_oates

Source: Libby Richards, earichar@purdue.edu, @LibbyAnnR1

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Related releases/links:

If you have any signs or symptoms of flu, stay home

You can’t get the flu from a flu shot

It’s time to roll up your sleeve and get a flu shot

The Conversation: Getting a flu shot this year is more important than ever because of COVID-19

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