Attention Adults: You Need Vaccines Too!

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Vaccinations aren’t just for kids, so follow CDC’s immunization schedule for adults. Doing so can help keep you from getting sick and missing work or school.

As an adult, you are busy with life and have many responsibilities — but don’t forget to take care of yourself! Every year in the United States, thousands of adults become seriously ill and are hospitalized because of diseases that vaccines can help prevent. These diseases can be deadly for many adults. Make sure you are vaccinated for the best protection!

The need for vaccines does not go away with age. In fact, there are specific ages in your adult life when vaccinations are recommended. Also, protection from vaccines you received as a child can wear off over time, and there are more vaccines available now.

Talk to your healthcare professional about which vaccines are right for you!

The vaccines you need as an adult are determined by many factors including your age, lifestyle, health condition, and which vaccines you’ve received during your life. As an adult, vaccines are recommended for protection against:

  • Seasonal influenza (flu) – Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year as the best way to reduce the risk of flu and its potentially serious complications.
  • Pertussis, also known as whooping cough – The Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine is recommended for women during each pregnancy and once for all adults who have not previously received it.
  • Tetanus and diphtheria – The Td vaccine is recommended every 10 years.
  • Shingles – The herpes zoster vaccine is recommended for adults 50 years and older.
  • Pneumococcal disease – Two pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for adults 65 years and older. One or both vaccines may be recommended for adults younger than 65 who have specific health conditions or who smoke cigarettes.

Doctor looking at medical records with female patient
Talk to your doctor about the vaccinations you need to protect your health for life!

You may also need vaccines to protect against human papillomavirus (which can cause certain cancers), meningococcal disease, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, measles, mumps, and rubella.

Getting vaccinated is one of the safest ways for you to protect your health. Vaccine side effects are usually mild (like soreness at the injection site) and go away on their own. Severe side effects are very rare.

It’s also important to protect yourself when traveling for work or pleasure. Depending on where you travel, vaccines can protect you from diseases that are rare in the United States, like yellow fever.

Where can you get vaccinated?

You can get vaccines at your healthcare professional’s office, pharmacies, community health clinics, health departments, and maybe even your workplace. To find a vaccine provider near you go to the HealthMap Vaccine FinderExternal.

Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines. Check with your insurance provider for details and for a list of vaccine providers. If you don’t have health insurance, visit healthcare.govExternal to learn more about health coverage options.

Page last reviewed: February 25, 2019