Recommended Vaccines for Adults

Kids get a lot of vaccinations when they are little, but many parents and other adults forget that they may need immunizations too. Just because you are an adult doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk for certain diseases. In some cases, depending on age and other factors, adults may be more at risk for these diseases than children. So make sure you check with your healthcare provider and keep up to date on your immunizations no matter what your age. It just might save your life.

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Tetanus (Td or Tdap)

After the initial series of tetanus shots as a child, adults should receive one dose of Tdap, then a Td or Tdap booster every 10 years. It is recommended that one of those be replaced with a Tdap to protect against whooping cough (pertussis) at some point between the ages of 19 and 64.


All people age 65 and older should have a pneumonia vaccine one time. If you have risk factors putting you at higher risk for the disease, you may need these vaccinations before you turn 65.


All people six months of age and older should receive an annual flu shot.


If you have not had an MMR vaccine and have never had measles, mumps or rubella (german measles), you may need the vaccine. Adults without evidence of immunity to measles, mumps, or rubella should receive one dose of MMR.


The HPV vaccine is recommended for all adults through age 26 years who have not already been immunized in childhood. It is a two- or three-dose series depending on age at initial vaccination.

Varicella (Chickenpox)

The varicella vaccine is recommended for adults 18 to 49 years old without evidence of immunity (being born before 1980 is considered evidence of immunity).

Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

The preferred type of this vaccine is for people age 50 and older. It protects against shingles, regardless of whether the person has had the disease before or not.

Important Note

These recommendations apply to healthy, non-pregnant adults. If you are pregnant or have a chronic illness with severe immunosuppression (such as HIV or you are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation) the recommendations for vaccination may vary significantly. You should always speak with your healthcare provider before being vaccinated to determine what vaccines you need and when you should get them.

Vaccines Doctor Discussion Guide

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  • ”2012 Adult Immunization Schedule.” Vaccines and Immunizations 16 Feb 12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.