Important information about vaccinations
Are the measles and flu really harmless? Is my tetanus vaccination actually still up-to-date? Many ask these questions. What’s certain is that vaccinations protect against serious illnesses. That’s why we recommend regularly checking your vaccination record, even as an adult. This is the best way to ensure that you always have optimal protection.
Another important point to consider is that as you age and depending on your personal circumstances, other vaccinations may often be a good idea. The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) sets out which vaccinations are recommended for which age groups in its vaccination recommendations, on which we base our own services.
We will therefore cover all costs of recommended vaccinations and regular boosters.
An overview of all recommended vaccinations:
- Tetanus and diphtheria: For adults, tetanus and diphtheria boosters are recommended every ten years.
- Whooping cough (pertussis): One whooping cough booster is recommended after the age of 18.
- Measles: Anyone who has not been vaccinated for measles or has only received one vaccination, or for whom their vaccination status is unclear, should get a booster. This is especially true for adults born after 1970, as it has been determined that many in this age group may not be sufficiently vaccinated.
- Flu: The flu vaccination is recommended on an annual basis for individuals aged 60 or older, pregnant women and individuals with a chronic illness. Get more information from our Flu vaccination page.
- Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE): TBE vaccination is recommended for all ages. You can find out more from your personal consultant.
- Travel vaccinations: These are recommended for trips or longer stays abroad and differ depending on the destination region. You can find out which vaccinations are necessary for your destination from your GP or your personal consultant. We subsidise recommended travel vaccinations. Find out more on the Travel vaccinations page.
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding vaccinations here
The vaccinations only provide protection for ten years. This has been shown in studies. For this reason, a booster is necessary in order to have the full protection of the vaccine.
Combined vaccinations allow for protection against multiple illnesses to be administered in a single vaccination dose. This reduces the number of vaccinations overall.
There are different combined vaccinations for adults, which are suitable as boosters. You can get one or more components for protection against tetanus, diphtheria and/or whooping cough and/or polio (for which a booster is also needed as an adult, if you were not sufficiently vaccinated as a child).
The measles vaccination is certainly administered to children. But two courses of vaccination are required. Some individuals were only vaccinated once as children or perhaps even not at all. With just one course of vaccination, adults are not fully protected and may contract the disease as a result. For adults, measles can be life-threatening.
No. Vaccines contain tiny quantities of pathogens that have been made harmless and are meant to activate the immune system against them. Getting tetanus from a tetanus–diphtheria vaccination, for example, is not possible.
Today’s vaccines are tolerated extremely well. Around a third of those vaccinated experience redness or minor swelling around the injection site. This is a harmless reaction and shows that the body is reacting to the vaccine. Occasionally, in the first three days after the vaccination, general symptoms such as an increase in temperature or tiredness may occur, although these usually subside after one to three days.
There are isolated instances of side effects such as headaches, body aches, nausea or allergic reactions being reported. Today’s vaccinations are monitored extremely closely, and the chances of complications are very rare.
If you have an acute infection or are allergic to a vaccine, please speak with your doctor before getting vaccinated.
The flu vaccination is recommended for pregnant women, as contracting the flu while pregnant can be life-threatening both for the baby and for the mother. During pregnancy the risk of flu complications is very high: pregnant women may contract pneumonia, and the baby may experience growth delays or even premature birth or stillbirth. Find out more about the flu vaccination on the ‘Flu vaccination’ page.
Individuals with a chronic illness or who have recently had an operation should speak with their doctor about what other vaccinations are important for them. The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) recommends these vaccinations for individuals with the following underlying conditions:
- Chronic respiratory, cardiovascular or metabolic disorders: flu, pneumococcus
- Immune system disorders: flu, pneumococcus, meningococcus, hepatitis B, chickenpox
- Liver and blood diseases: flu, pneumococcus, hepatitis A and B
- Spleen diseases: flu, pneumococcus, meningococcus, haemophilus influenzae type B (hib)
- Kidney diseases: flu, pneumococcus, hepatitis B
- Multiple sclerosis: flu
Vaccinations are also recommended in the following cases:
- Before surgical intervention: hepatitis B and haemophilus influenzae type B (hib)
- Before organ transplants: flu, pneumococcus, hepatitis B, chickenpox
Vaccinations for adults – your SBK benefits:
- The SBK Health Telephone is available to answer all of your questions regarding vaccinations on 0800 072 572 570 00 (free of charge within Germany).
- If you choose to take advantage of the recommended vaccinations, you will receive a bonus as part of the SBK Bonus Scheme.
Please note: if you are not connected directly, unfortunately, all lines are busy at the time of your call. In this case you will hear an announcement in German and be directed to an answering machine. You are welcome to leave your name and telephone number after the tone and we will call you back as soon as possible.
How to get vaccinations:
Make an appointment with your GP and take your vaccination record with you. Your GP will advise you on the recommended vaccinations and carry out the ones you choose to have.
We cover the costs of all vaccinations recommended by STIKO; all you have to do is show your SBK health care card to the doctor.