Why your child’s vaccines could soon protect you too

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption US children’s vaccines rates are approaching 100%

Dengue and measles vaccines will now be available for all adults, with a vaccine booster on the way for meningitis.

A growing body of evidence shows a vaccine protects better in older people, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC said the new vaccine recommendations included:

Dengue vaccine boosters for those aged between 50 and 64

Measles vaccines for people aged 35 and 45

Meningitis vaccine booster shots for ages 46 and over

We take a look at the expanding options to help protect older people’s health.

Why is this important?

If you thought vaccines for children were safe, the fact that the CDC is recommending them for everyone over 50 is a shocker.

The decision was taken “in the best interest of public health”, according to CDC.

The jab only requires a 25% injection interval, and gives protection against an emerging illness that has already killed several people.

“We need to remind people that these vaccine diseases remain a threat,” said Dr Robert Moskowitz, a child epidemiologist with the CDC.

Which vaccines are already recommended?

CDC said the majority of the children already on the vaccination program are receiving the MenACWY vaccine, with the vaccine being approved for use against meningitis, chickenpox and shingles.

The vaccine protects against meningococcal diseases that cause meningitis, such as meningitis C, MenACWY and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).

A vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV) is now recommended for those aged 12 and older, along with meningitis and shingles.

How is the vaccine done?

There are multiple injections made from a single ingredient, called the anandaquine part of the vaccine.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The first vaccine against meningitis was approved in 1955

People are immune to the disease by exposure to tiny eggs, which carries the disease but does not have the inherent risk associated with a live virus.

The vaccine is introduced before the body produces antibodies. The vaccine works by reducing the immune response to the infection.

These antibodies help to protect against any subsequent infection.

What are the side effects?

The majority of people who get meningitis do not experience any symptoms, but some may be short-lived and others can lead to more serious illnesses.

Other side effects can include fever, chills, redness or soreness at the injection site, headaches, some nausea, and redness or swelling around the injection site.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The CDC recommends meningitis vaccinations for everyone over 6 years of age

What are the alternatives?

The US offers three vaccines against meningitis, but the recommended vaccine has no adjuvant, which is a little-known method of boosting the immune response to the vaccine.

There are currently no adjuvants in any of the Meningitis vaccines, but they are known to be associated with side effects, including rash, in some cases.

Vaccine adjuvants give the vaccine “a more robust, longer-lasting immune response”, but are not considered to be associated with the “safety or effectiveness” of the vaccines, according to CDC.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The benefits and side effects of some vaccines are controversial

Another alternative would be an investigational vaccine for meningitis, which is currently in clinical trials for use in people over the age of 12.

Can the vaccine prevent Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis?

While there is much debate around these conditions, many experts say these diseases are not caused by the same viruses which can cause meningitis and the meningitis vaccine does not protect against them.

There are no data indicating the safety or effectiveness of a vaccine for Crohn’s disease, and no treatments are currently available.

Meningitis is the most common cause of acute inflammatory bowel disease in adults, although data is sparse. In 2015, almost 2,200 people in the US were diagnosed with Crohn’s and 508 died, according to data from the CDC.

Many people who suffer from these conditions also have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

A Meningitis specialist said they believed many people would be glad to have the option.

“There is a misunderstanding that meningitis is a common childhood illness that happens only to babies and young children,” said Ashish Mahurkar from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“It’s not, it happens to all age groups and it’s a big threat across all ethnicities.

“Our genetic research has

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