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What Vaccines are Recommended for You

Immunizations are not just for children. Protection from some childhood vaccines can wear off over time. You may also be at risk for vaccine-preventable disease due to your age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions.

All adults need immunizations to help them prevent getting and spreading serious diseases that could result in poor health, missed work, medical bills, and not being able to care for family.

  • All adults need a seasonal flu (influenza) vaccine every year. Flu vaccine is especially important for people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, and older adults.
  • Every adult should get the Tdap vaccine once if they did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years. In addition, women should get the Tdap vaccine each time they are pregnant, preferably at 27 through 36 weeks.

Review the tabs below to learn what other vaccines you may need and check with your healthcare professional to make sure you are up to date on recommended vaccines.

Adults 19 – 26 years old

In addition to seasonal flu (influenza) vaccine and Td or Tdap vaccine (Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), you should also get:

  • HPV vaccine which protects against the human papillomaviruses that causes most cervical cancers, anal cancer, and genital warts. It is recommended for:
    • women up to age 26 years
    • men up to age 21 years
    • men ages 22-26 who have sex with men

Some vaccines may be recommended for adults because of particular job or school-related requirements, health conditions, lifestyle or other factors. For example, some states require students entering colleges and universities to be vaccinated against certain diseases like meningitis due to increased risk among college students living in residential housing. Read more about state mandates or use this tool to get your state's vaccination requirements.

Talk with your doctor or other healthcare professional to find out which vaccines are recommended for you at your next medical appointment.

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance plans that cover children now allow parents to add or keep children on the health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old. For more information, see Can children stay on a parent's plan through age 26? or healthcare.gov.

Adults 60 years or older

Video - Our Best Shot: The Importance of Vaccines for Older Adults

Watch this short video from the Alliance for Aging Research to understand how vaccines work and why they are so important for older adults.

An estimated 1 million Americans get shingles every year, and about half of them are 60 years old or older. Additionally, over 60 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occur in people 65 years and older.

As we get older, our immune systems tend to weaken over time, putting us at higher risk for certain diseases. This is why, in addition to seasonal flu (influenza) vaccine and Td or Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), you should also get:

  • Pneumococcal vaccines, which protect against pneumococcal disease, including infections in the lungs and bloodstream (recommended for all adults over 65 years old, and for adults younger than 65 years who have certain chronic health conditions)
  • Zoster vaccine, which protects against shingles (recommended for adults 60 years or older)

Talk with your doctor or other healthcare professional to find out which vaccines are recommended for you at your next medical appointment.

Adults with Health Conditions

All adults need a seasonal flu (influenza) vaccine and Td or Tdap vaccine (Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) but there may be additional vaccines recommended for you. Learn more about which vaccines you may need if you have any of these conditions:

Talk with your doctor or other healthcare professional to find out which vaccines are recommended for you based on your specific health status, age, and lifestyle.

Pregnant Women

If you are pregnant, the two vaccines you’ll need during each pregnancy are:

  • Tdap (preferably between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy) to help protect against whooping cough, and
  • The flu shot (during flu season, which is October through May) to help protect against influenza.

You may also need other vaccines. Visit Vaccines for Pregnant Women to learn more.

Talk with your ob-gyn or midwife to find out which vaccines are recommended to help protect you and your baby.

Healthcare Workers

Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at risk for exposure to serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases. If you work directly with patients or handle material that could spread infection, you should get appropriate vaccines to reduce the chance that you will get or spread vaccine-preventable diseases.

In addition to seasonal flu (influenza) vaccine and Td or Tdap vaccine (Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), you should also get:

  • Hepatitis B: If you don't have documented evidence of a complete hepB vaccine series, or if you don't have an up-to-date blood test that shows you are immune to hepatitis B (i.e., no serologic evidence of immunity or prior vaccination) then you should get the 3-dose series (dose #1 now, #2 in 1 month, #3 approximately 5 months after #2). Get anti-HBs serologic tested 1–2 months after dose #3.
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, & Rubella): If you were born in 1957 or later and have not had the MMR vaccine, or if you don't have an up-to-date blood test that shows you are immune to measles, mumps, and rubella (i.e., no serologic evidence of immunity or prior vaccination), get 2 doses of MMR, 4 weeks apart.
  • Varicella (Chickenpox): If you have not had chickenpox (varicella), if you haven't had varicella vaccine, or if you don't have an up-to-date blood test that shows you are immune to varicella (i.e., no serologic evidence of immunity or prior vaccination) get 2 doses of varicella vaccine, 4 weeks apart.
  • Meningococcal: Those who are routinely exposed to isolates of N. meningitidis should get one dose.

Visit Recommended Vaccines for Healthcare Workers to learn more.

International Travelers

If you are planning on visiting or living abroad you may need certain vaccinations.

Get the vaccines you need:

STEP 1: Make sure you are up-to-date with all recommended vaccinations. Take this the adult vaccination quiz to determine which vaccines you need and create a customized printout to take with you to your next medical appointment. Talk with your doctor or healthcare professional and get any vaccines that you may have missed.

STEP 2: Visit the CDC Travel Health site for more information about recommendations and requirements for the locations you will be visiting during your travel.

STEP 3: Make an appointment to get recommended vaccines at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip. Planning ahead will give you enough time to build up immunity and get best protection from vaccines that may require multiple doses.

Many state and local health departments throughout the United States provide travel vaccinations. You can find more travel vaccination information as well as where to find travel vaccinations at CDC's Travelers' Health Clinic page.

For additional information on smart travel and packing a travel health kit, see Immunization for Travelers fact sheet [1 page].

For more information:

Who Should NOT Be Vaccinated

Some adults with specific health conditions should not get certain vaccines or should wait to get them. Read more about who should not get each vaccine.

Talk with your doctor to make sure you get the vaccines that are right for you.

To learn more about these diseases and the benefits and potential risks associated with the vaccines, read the Vaccine Information Statements (VIS).

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