Vaccines for Older Adults (60 years or older)
As we get older, our immune systems tend to weaken over time, putting us at higher risk for certain diseases. When older adults get these diseases, they can have more severe illnesses than younger people. Vaccines can help boost the immune system to lessen the risk of older adults getting vaccine-preventable diseases. Even if you were vaccinated at a younger age, the immunity from those vaccines can wear off or the virus or bacteria that the vaccine protects against changes so your resistance is not as strong.
Vaccines Recommended for Older Adults
- Influenza vaccine, which protects against seasonal flu (for all adults ever year)
- Td vaccine, which protects against tetanus (for all adults every 10 years)
- Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also known as whooping cough) (for all adults once instead of Td vaccine)
- Pneumococcal vaccine, which protects against pneumococcal diseases that cause infections in the lungs, blood, brain and ear (for all adults over 65 years old, and for adults younger than 65 years who have certain chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, or who smoke)
- Zoster vaccine, which protects against shingles (for adults 60 years or older)
There may be other vaccines to consider because your health, job, or lifestyle may put you at higher risk for certain diseases. For example, people with diabetes are recommended to also get the Hepatitis B vaccine.
If you are planning to travel out of the country, find out which vaccines are recommended or required. Visit the CDC Travel Health site to learn more.
Talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional to find out if there are other vaccines that you may need. You can also review the Adult Immunization Schedule [2 pages] or take this simple quiz to determine which vaccines you need and create a customized printout to take with you to your next medical appointment.
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