Immunizations - Adult Immunizations
Your need for
immunizations does not end when you reach adulthood.
The specific shots (injections) you need as an adult depend not only on your age, lifestyle, overall health, pregnancy status, and travel plans
but also on who you are in close contact with and what vaccines you had as a child. Tetanus and diphtheria shots need to be
repeated every 10 years throughout adulthood in order to keep your
Each year the U.S. Advisory
Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the American College of Obstetrics
and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, and the American Academy
of Family Physicians recommend a specific
adult immunization schedule(What is a PDF document?).
Your doctor will consider your
medical and immunization history (and documentation) when deciding which shots
To print a list of which shots you may need, go to the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) interactive website at
Immunizations given during adulthood may include:8
This shot (called Varivax) protects against
chickenpox. Chickenpox infection can be very serious
when it occurs after childhood.
Who should get it?
- Adults who are not already immune to the chickenpox virus
need two doses, given at least 4 weeks apart.
- Women who don't have evidence of immunity and recently gave
birth should get this shot.
Pregnant women and people with
immune system problems should not get this
This immunization helps protect against the seasonal flu
and the H1N1 (swine) flu. Flu viruses are always changing, so the flu
vaccines are updated every year. Protection lasts up to a year for each flu
Who should get it?
Flu immunization is recommended once a year for:
- All adults. It is especially important for:
- People with a
chronic health condition, such as
diabetes, heart or lung disorders, or an impaired
immune system (which puts them at high risk for complications of the
- Women who are or will be pregnant during the flu
- Household contacts and caregivers of all children younger
than 5 years old and close contacts of others who are at high risk for
complications of the flu.
- People who live in nursing homes or long-term care centers.
Healthy people ages 2 years through 49 years can
usually get the
nasal spray flu vaccine (FluMist)(What is a PDF document?) instead of the flu shot. Pregnant women can get the flu shot but not
Adults ages 65 and older can get a high-dose flu shot.9 Studies are being done to see if the high-dose shot protects older adults better than the standard-dose shot.