Guidelines for Adult Immunisation

Available Vaccines

Message from Editor

Immunisation against infectious diseases has been primarily directed towards infants, children and adolescents and has become a routine practice in paediatrics. In many countries, including Malaysia, adult immunisation is not commonly practiced. There is a lack of awareness of the benefits of immunisation for adults, even though there is considerable morbidity and mortality within this age group due to vaccine-preventable diseases.

Adults need vaccination for various reasons:

  1. Vaccination helps adults to stay healthy. There are certain infections like influenza, invasive pneumococcal disease and chickenpox that can cause significant morbidity and mortality in adults.
  2. Vaccination helps to protect family members and the community from infectious diseases. Adults are an important source of pertussis in very young infants where the infection may be severe and life-threatening.
  3. Immunity derived from vaccination during childhood can wane over time; so adults would require boosters of these vaccines.
  4. Some adults can face greater risks to certain infections because of their work, travel or underlying diseases.

The primary objective for developing these clinical practice guidelines on adult immunisation is to assist doctors and the public in making decisions on the appropriate use of vaccines in the adult population (defined as those 18 years and above). These recommendations on adult immunisation are evidence-based, appropriate to the Malaysian context and reflect current best practices.

Groups of adults who are at a higher risk of contracting specific infections by virtue of their age, underlying diseases or occupation, are identified and recommendations made for the appropriate vaccines. It is hoped that the judicious use of vaccines will provide a cost-effective way of reducing the burden of morbidity and mortality due to vaccine-preventable infections among adults in Malaysia.

This is the third edition of the Guidelines For Adult Immunisation and we hope that it will provide a useful resource for all doctors in Malaysia.

Victor Lim
September 2020