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Vaccinations -- They're Not Just For Kids

Other Vaccines for Adults With Certain High-Risk Factors

Scientists have also developed vaccines that protect against meningococcal disease, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B. Meningococcal disease is an infection caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria, also known as meningococcus. Meningococcus is a common cause of bacterial meningitis, a life-threatening infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It can also cause serious blood infections.
 
Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are infections of the liver caused by hepatitis viruses. Both infections have the potential to cause serious illness, liver damage, and even death (see Hepatitis A Symptoms and Hepatitis B Symptoms for more information about the problems associated with these infections).
 
Not every one needs the meningococcal, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B vaccines. However, the vaccines can offer much-needed protection to adults who happen to have a higher risk for developing these infections. Speaking with your healthcare provider is the best way to find out if you need these special vaccines. Here's a brief overview to get you started:
 
  • Meningococcal vaccine -- you might need one or two doses of this vaccine if you:
    • Have a terminal complement deficiency, a genetic condition that affects the immune system
    • Do not have a spleen or your spleen doesn't work like it should
    • Are entering college and will be living in a dorm
    • Are a military recruit
    • Are traveling to an area where meningococcal disease is common
    • Are a microbiologist and are routinely exposed to Neisseria meningitidis
    • Have an HIV infection.
 
  • Hepatitis A vaccine -- you might need two doses of this vaccine if you:
    • Are traveling to a country where hepatitis A is common
    • Use illegal drugs
    • Are a man who has sex with other men
    • Have chronic liver disease
    • Have a blood clotting factor disorder
    • Have a job that exposes you to hepatitis A
    • Want to be protected against hepatitis A.
 
  • Hepatitis B vaccine -- you might need three doses of this vaccine if you:
    • Are traveling to a country where hepatitis B is common
    • Inject illegal drugs
    • Have multiple sex partners
    • Are a man who has sex with other men
    • Have chronic liver disease, diabetes, or end-stage kidney disease, or if you are on dialysis
    • Are a healthcare or public health worker
    • Have a job that exposes you to hepatitis B
    • Live with someone or have sex with someone who has hepatitis B
    • Want to be protected against hepatitis B.
 
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