We never outgrow the need for vaccines. By the time we are adults, our immune systems have fought many infections and developed protection. But some adults may not have been immunized as children and need to catch up. Getting a childhood disease like measles or mumps as an adult can have serious health consequences. Sometimes diseases (example: flu) change over time and we need to update our immunity. Newer vaccines, now routinely given to children or teens, may not have been available to all adults when they were younger but could be beneficial now. Or, some of the protection from the disease may fade as we age so an additional dose may be necessary.
The vaccines listed are recommended for adults. Talk to your healthcare provider about boosting your immunization with the following:
Download the Adults Immunization Schedule
Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap)
Whooping cough or pertussis is on the rise in the United States, putting infants who are too young to be vaccinated at serious risk. Adults are often the carriers of this deadly disease. One dose of Tdap is recommended as a substitute for Td. (Td vaccine protects against tetanus or lockjaw and also against diphtheria and a booster is is recommended every 10 years.)
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
This vaccine protects against the most common HPV, which can cause cervical cancer, and genital warts. This vaccine is recommended for women, ages 11- 26 years.
Measles, Mump, Rubella (MMR)
For those ages 19-49 years, 1-2 doses are recommended to create immunity or boost it.
Varicella (Chicken pox)
For those who did not receive the vaccine as a child or did not have the disease, two doses are recommended.
Seasonal influenza vaccine is recommended for almost everyone. All people age 6 months and older should receive an annual influenza vaccine. The 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccine contains protection against the 2009 H1N1 virus (swine flu) as well as two other influenza strains.
One dose of this vaccine is recommended for those 65 and older to prevent pneumonia.
Zoster (Shingles or Herpes Zoster)
One dose of this vaccine is recommended for those 60 and older to prevent shingles. Even if you have already had shingles, you can benefit from this vaccine.
Certain adults may be at risk for the diseases listed below
Check with your healthcare provider to see if you need:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Meningococcal (Meningititis)