Children aren’t the only ones who need vaccinations. Adults may be more at risk for certain diseases than children due to their weakened immune status.
For up to date CDC Immunization guidelines, click here.
Tetanus (Td or Tdap)
After the initial series of tetanus shots as a child (included in the Dtap), all adults need a 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 persons over the age of 65 should have a pneumonia vaccine once. If you have risk factors putting you at higher risk for the disease, you may need this vaccination before you turn 65. People with chronic illnesses and suppressed immune systems will need this vaccine every 5 years. Pneumonia can be a complication of influenza or due to an acquired bacteria.
The current recommendations for influenza shots are that all children under 18 and all adults over the age of 50 receive the vaccination yearly. It is also recommended as a yearly vaccination for anyone between the ages of 19 and 49 who is ‘at risk.’ ‘At-risk’ means those who are immunocompromised, such as those on steroids, receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment, or taking drugs to suppress the immune system. The reason for yearly vaccines is due to the virus’ ability to mutate or change its genetic makeup. Twice a year, scientists come up with a new vaccine.
Measles Mumps Rubella or MMR
If you have not had an MMR vaccine and have never had measles, mumps, or rubella (german measles), you may need the vaccine. One or two doses are recommended if you are between the ages of 19 and 49 and one dose is recommended for those over the age of 50 who are at high risk for these diseases.
Human Papilloma Virus or HPV
The HPV vaccine is a relatively new vaccine to prevent certain types of cervical cancer that are caused by the most virulent forms of HPV (16, 18, and a few others). It is recommended for girls and boys between the ages of 11 and 24, though this top age has been rising with the years, and needs to be given in three doses.
The varicella vaccine is recommended for all adults who have never had the vaccine and have never had the chickenpox disease. This vaccine is given in two separate doses.
The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all adults who are at high risk for the disease. It is given in two doses.
The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all adults who meet high-risk criteria for the disease, primarily healthcare workers. It is given in three doses.
The meningococcal vaccine is recommended for all adults who are at high risk. It protects against certain types of meningitis and pneumonia. One or more doses may be necessary depending on your risk factors and your doctor’s recommendations.
Two doses of the herpes zoster vaccine (Shingrix) is recommended 2-6 months apart for all adults over the age of 50. It protects against shingles, regardless of whether the person has had the disease before or not. Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus.
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 by healthcare provider.