Doctor Prescribes 10 Life-saving Inoculations for Adults

MDVIP | January 15, 2008

Every year millions of dollars in vaccination programs are aimed at preventing serious illnesses and life-threatening diseases in children. But most adults need a couple of shots in the arm as well. According to Dragan Djordjevic, M.D., of MDVIP<, a national network of affiliated physicians who are as dedicated to disease prevention as healing, there are 10 life-saving inoculations that every adult should have.

Most people are not aware that childhood vaccines and boosters may lose effectiveness by the time adults reach 30 years of age, says Dr. Djordjevic. As a result, he points out, tens of thousands of adults every year die prematurely of diseases ranging from the flu to meningitis, which can be easily prevented with regular vaccination and booster shot maintenance. Adult inoculation could be critical to the prevention of the pandemics that historically wipe out large human populations every 30 years, such as the aviary flu pandemic of 1918, and the polio pandemics of the 1940s and 1950s.

It is alarming to realize how many adults have not received all of the vaccine and booster shots they need, says Dr. Djordjevic. This isnt just kid stuff. Some of these diseases are deadly to adults who are not properly inoculated and can spread quickly from continent to continent, raising additional concerns if you travel.

MDVIP recommends that primary care physicians review inoculation histories with all patients during their annual physical. Unfortunately, many preventive medicine measures, such as some adult vaccine and booster inoculations, are not covered by insurance policies, so many physicians dont include these in their routine checkups, adds Dr. Djordjevic. Patients should insist on regular conversations about adult vaccine and booster shots with their doctors, if it is not already routine.

Specifically, Dr. Djordjevic recommends that all adults review their history of the following inoculations with their doctors:

• Varicella (Chicken Pox)—One of the most dangerous diseases as an adult. If you are an adult and have not had chicken pox or are unsure, a simple blood test can tell you if you have antibodies in your system. If you don’t have evidence of this you can take the simple two-step vaccine.  The older you get, the worse the symptoms will be if you do get this disease, and it is extremely dangerous for pregnant women.

• Flu Shot—Even if you never get the flu or have received flu vaccinations in the past, you need an annual update of the flu shot, especially if you are very young, over 65 years old or compromised by some other disease. The flu strain is different every year, and every year the flu kills 50-70,000 people in the U.S.

• Pneumonia Shot—Important for everyone over 65 and those with pulmonary disease or other serious illnesses. Pneumonia kills over 60,000 people a year, with mortality rates increasing significantly with age.

• Shingles Vaccination—A relatively new vaccine, and an expensive one (but cost-effective if you get an outbreak and need to pay for pain and anti-viral medications), but it can prevent a very painful outbreak. In one out of five people, the herpes zoster virus awakens and develops into shingles.  It generally presents itself in a rash preceded by burning, constant aching and shooting pains on one side of the body. Those who have had chicken pox are primarily at risk. Older people and those with cancer, HIV or organ transplants have a decreased ability to fight off infection and a greater chance of getting shingles.

• Tetanus Vaccination—Skin wounds that get dirt in them can become infected with the tetanus bacteria and cause lockjaw.  This inoculation should be given to adults every 10 years.

• Meningitis Vaccination--College freshmen who live in dormitories have an increased risk of getting meningococcal disease. This infection is typically life-threatening.

• Tetanus Pertussis Diphtheria Immunization— Until recently, it was not recommended that adults get this whooping cough booster inoculation due to the potential side effects. But improvements in vaccination technologies, as well as new scientific studies showing that 20 percent of adults with a cough that lasts over a week have whooping cough, have caused medical experts to re-evaluate the benefits of a whooping cough booster.

• Gardasil—A brand new vaccine for young girls and women ages 9-26 years is given in three shots over a six-month period.  It is the first vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.

• MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)— These vaccines are commonly given to children 11-12 months old and again when they are 5-6 years old, but should be updated in women with two doses six months apart before becoming pregnant and/or adults attending college or who work in medical facilities. If you are an adult and have not had the series of shots or are unsure, a simple blood test can tell you if you have antibodies in your system. If you don’t have immunity to Measles, Mumps, or Rubella you can get vaccinated as an adult.

• Hepatitis B Shot—Over 350 million people in the world are infected with HBV. Everyone under 18 should be vaccinated. Sexually active adults over 18, healthcare workers, firefighters or other emergency personnel should be inoculated against this infectious disease that ultimately destroys the liver.

• If traveling, you need to get the following inoculations:

    • A booster of polio.  Although eradicated, the disease is making a comeback in the Third World.
    • Hepatitis A vaccine, to prevent a serious virus contracted by ingesting contaminated food or water.
    • Yellow fever inoculation if traveling to Africa and South America. This vaccine, which protects against the yellow fever virus that is carried by mosquitoes, can only be given by those licensed by the government.  This vaccine lasts for 10 years.
    • Typhoid vaccine, typically for those traveling to Third World countries. 

For further information on any of these inoculations and diseases, it is always best to check with your primary care physician.

Dr. Djordjevic is available for interviews as well as other MDVIP-affiliated physicians in key markets.

MDVIP, Inc. is a privately-held firm, founded in 2000 and headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida.  It is a national network of physicians who practice proactive, preventive and personalized healthcare, not just the detection and treatment of disease.  With prevention as the cornerstone of its program, MDVIP has proven that it’s carefully chosen affiliated physicians provide exceptional care and achieve exceptional outcomes.  These outcomes include lower hospitalization rates.  MDVIP-affiliated physicians enjoy enhanced personal, professional and financial freedom.  MDVIP currently serves more than 65,000 patients through over 200 affiliated physicians located in 19 states and Washington, D.C. (Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia).  For more information, go to

About Dragan Djordjevic, M.D.
Dragan Djordjevic M.D., (pronounced George-o-vich) is an MDVIP-affiliated primary care physician board certified in internal medicine.  He was named one of the Best Doctor in America for 2007.  Dr. Djordjevic is also the team physician for the Chicago White Sox.  Based in Chicago, he is affiliated with both Rush University Medical Center and Rush North Shore.  Among his many awards and accolades include Resident of the Year at Rush and Outstanding Teacher Award.  He received his Doctorate of Medicine from Rush Medical College where he completed his internship and residency.