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Adult Vaccination: An Important Step in Protecting Your Health

Group of senior adultsVaccines are recommended for all adults to help prevent getting and spreading diseases. Vaccines are especially important for those with chronic conditions, who are more likely to develop complications from certain vaccine-preventable diseases. Find out which vaccines are recommended for you.

Vaccines are an important step in protecting adults against serious, sometimes deadly, diseases. Even if you were vaccinated at a younger age, the protection from some vaccines can wear off or the virus or bacteria that the vaccine protects against changes so your resistance is not as strong. As you get older, you may also be at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases due to your age, job, hobbies, travel, or health conditions.

CDC recommends that all adults get the following vaccines:

Adults with chronic conditions are more likely to develop complications from certain vaccine-preventable diseases, including long-term illness, hospitalization, and even death.

  • People with asthma, COPD, or other conditions that affect the lungs have a higher risk of complication from influenza (the flu) even if the condition is mild and symptoms are controlled. Since people with asthma and COPD have sensitive airways, inflammation from the flu can cause asthma attacks or make asthma and COPD symptoms worse. Those with asthma, COPD, or other conditions that affect the lungs are more likely to develop pneumonia and other respiratory diseases after getting sick with the flu than those without these conditions.

CDC recommends people with asthma, COPD, or other conditions that affect the lungs get a yearly influenza (flu) vaccine and pneumococcal vaccines, once as an adult before 65 years of age and then two more doses at 65 years or older.

  • People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of Hepatitis B virus infection. Hepatitis B can be spread through sharing of blood glucose meters, finger stick devices, or other diabetes care equipment such as insulin pens. Diabetes, either type 1 or type 2, can also weaken the immune system's ability to fight the flu. People with diabetes, even if well managed, are more likely than those without diabetes to have complications from the flu such as pneumonia, which can lead to hospitalization.

CDC recommends people with diabetes get pneumococcal vaccines, once as an adult before 65 years of age and then two more doses at 65 years or older, a yearly influenza (flu) vaccine, and a hepatitis B vaccine series if they're between the age 19 and 59. If you are 60 years or older, talk to your doctor to see if you should get hepatitis B vaccine.

  • People with heart disease, or those who have had a stroke, have a higher risk of serious medical complications from the flu, including worsening of their heart disease. People with heart disease are at almost three times higher risk of being hospitalized with influenza than those without heart disease.

CDC recommends people with heart disease get a yearly influenza (flu) vaccine and pneumococcal vaccines, once as an adult before 65 years of age and then two more doses at 65 years or older.

Take steps to protect yourself and your loves ones.

Staying healthy is a priority for all of us - and it's especially critical for those with chronic conditions. Vaccination provides the best protection against diseases that could result not only in serious health problems, but missed work, medical bills, and not being able to care for your family. Take the following steps to make sure you have the best protection.

Step 1: Learn about vaccines recommended for adults based on age and other factors.
A complete list of the recommended adult vaccines can be found on the Adult Immunization Schedule [201 KB]. Take the Adult Vaccine Quiz and get a customized printout of vaccines recommended for you based on your age, job, health condition, and other factors.

Woman talking with doctor

Ask your doctor which vaccines are right for you.

Step 2: Talk with a healthcare professional about which vaccines are right for you.
Your doctor or other healthcare professional can advise you on which vaccines you need and why – as well as which vaccines may not be right for you based on certain factors such as allergies to vaccine ingredients or health conditions. You can bring your customized printout of recommended vaccines from the Adult Vaccine Quiz to review at your next appointment with your provider.

Step 3: Get vaccinated.
To find out where to get vaccines for adults in your area, visit the Healthmap Vaccine Finder. Most private health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended adult vaccines. Check with your insurance provider for details of coverage including where you can get vaccinated. If you do not currently have health insurance, visit www.HealthCare.gov to learn more about affordable health coverage options.

Step 4: Keep track of your vaccinations and make sure you stay up-to-date.
Make sure to keep track of your vaccines to ensure you are up-to-date and have maximum protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or other immunization provider for a copy of your vaccination record or download and use this form [211 KB] to help keep track of your immunizations.

Step 5: Encourage your friends and loved ones to get vaccinated.
All adults need immunization to help them prevent getting and spreading serious diseases. After getting your vaccinations, talk to your friends and loved ones about getting protected too!

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