Take your best shot

Dear Lucy: I am in my early thirties and, other than annual flu shots, have not had any vaccinations or inoculations for at least 10 years. Do I need booster shots? If so, which ones? Can I get the shots I need at MIT Medical? —Needlework

Dear Needlework: What a great question! Who amongst us has not awoken in the middle of the night worrying about our susceptibility to measles, mumps, or pertussis? In an attempt to set all our minds at ease, Lucy got in touch with MIT Medical’s Brian Marriott, M.D., a family practitioner at MIT Medical/Lexington.
Marriott tells Lucy that “for healthy adults in their 30’s, the two vaccines we routinely keep people up to date on are influenza and tetanus.” Marriott applauds you for getting your annual flu shot, but, he says, it sounds like you are due for tetanus—probably the TDaP version of the vaccine, which also protects against diphtheria and pertussis, unless there’s documentation that you have already had this one.  
“Some adults have special situations that would require additional immunizations,” Marriott notes. “These would include certain medical conditions, work exposures, travel, or a need to meet certain school requirements. But we don’t give these additional immunizations routinely.” 
Patients who get their routine care at MIT Medical can also get any necessary immunizations here. If you have not had a physical exam recently, Marriott suggests calling your primary care provider (PCP) to schedule one. You can get the TDaP vaccine then, and you and your PCP can talk about whether or not you fall into a category that would require other immunizations as well. —Lucy


Back to Ask Lucy Information contained in Ask Lucy is intended solely for general educational purposes and is not intended as professional medical advice related to individual situations. Always obtain the advice of a qualified healthcare professional if you need medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Never disregard medical advice you have received, nor delay getting such advice, because of something you read in this column.