Immunizations - Topic Overview
Talk to your doctor if
you or your child plans to be in a group living situation, like a college
dormitory or summer camp. You may want certain shots, like those for meningitis.
What vaccines are recommended for adults?
vaccines you need as an adult(What is a PDF document?) 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.
Talk to your
doctor about which vaccines you need. Depending on your situation, you may need
- Hepatitis A and/or B.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV).
- Measles, mumps, and rubella.
- Pneumococcal disease.
- Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
In some states, pharmacists can give some of these shots.
What are the side effects of vaccines?
effects from vaccines are minor, if they occur at all. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about
the reactions that could occur. They may include:
- Redness, mild swelling, or soreness where the shot was given.
- A slight fever.
- Drowsiness, crankiness, and poor appetite.
- A mild rash 7 to 14 days after chickenpox or
- Temporary joint pain after a measles-mumps-rubella shot.
Serious reactions, such as trouble breathing or a fever
of 104.5°F (40.3°C) or higher,
are rare. If you or your child has an unusual reaction, call your
It is much more dangerous for a child to risk getting the
diseases than it is to risk having a serious reaction to the vaccine.
Can vaccines cause other problems?
question whether mercury-containing thimerosal (used as a preservative in
vaccines) might cause
autism. Studies have not found a link between
thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.1 Today, all
routine childhood vaccines made for the U.S. contain either no
thimerosal or only trace amounts.2
False claims in the news have made some parents concerned about a link between autism and the shot for measles, mumps, and rubella. But studies have found no link between vaccines and autism.3, 4