Vaccinations for adults

Do you think shots are only for kids? Actually, there are several important vaccines you need as an adult.


Vaccinations protect yourself from disease, but also protect people around you. Young babies who aren’t yet vaccinated or people with weak immune systems can benefit from your vaccination. You will be less likely to spread an illness, such as whooping cough, to someone who is more likely to get sick.


Don’t wait until it’s too late. Ask your doctor about which vaccines you may need at your next well visit.


Adults may get shots for a variety of reasons:

•  You need to be vaccinated for something that affects adults, such as the flu.

•  You need boosters of vaccines you got as a child. This is because many vaccines start to lose their protection over time.

•  You didn’t receive the complete set of vaccines in your youth and want to be protected now.


The CDC says that all adults should get:

•  Influenza vaccine. This helps prevent influenza, or the flu. You get this every year.

•  Td vaccine. This protects you from tetanus and you should get one every 10 years.

Tdap vaccine instead of Td vaccine (one time only). This protects against tetanus and diphtheria plus whooping cough (pertussis). Pregnant women should get the Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy.

•  Pneumonia vaccine. This helps prevent certain bacteria that can cause pneumonia. Ask your doctor when you should get this vaccine.

•  Shingles vaccine. This can prevent shingles, a painful rash that can develop from a previous chickenpox infection.


Other shots may also be recommended for you. Not every adult needs the same vaccines. Some will depend on your past vaccines, your age, lifestyle and health. Talk with your doctor about whether you need other shots.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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