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Internal Medicine

Immunizations for Adults

Vaccinations, or immunizations, for adults are recommended based on your age, prior vaccinations, health, lifestyle, occupation and travel destinations. Vaccines are an important part of staying healthy at any age. Staying up-to-date with your vaccines is the best way to protect yourself — and others — against preventable diseases.

Following the guidelines below means you are receiving shots identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as the best way to prevent serious illness.


All adults should receive:

  • Seasonal flu vaccine: Also known as a flu shot, this vaccine changes from year to year to protect you against changes in the flu virus. Experts recommend you receive a flu shot every year..
  • Tetanus-diphtheria (Td) or tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccines: If you didn’t receive a tetanus shot as a child, it is important to get one right away. Td booster shots are recommended every 10 years.

Adults between 19 to 26 years old should also receive:

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: This shot helps fight the virus that causes most cervical cancers, anal cancer and genital warts.
  • Vaccines for contagious diseases:  If you’re a college student, you may need shots to protect against meningitis, measles, mumps and rubella.

Adults age 50 and older should also receive:

  • Zoster vaccine: If you had chickenpox as a child, you face a higher risk of getting shingles, a painful skin rash that affects older adults. The zoster vaccine fights the virus that causes shingles.

Adults age 65 and older should also receive:

  • Pneumococcal vaccine: This vaccine protects you against ear, brain and lung infections (pneumonia).

Vaccines for pregnant women

  • Women who are pregnant should also receive the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine contained in the TDAP vaccine and recommended with each pregnancy. This vaccine builds immunity that gets passed on to your baby, protecting your baby against potentially life-threatening complications of whooping cough. Pregnant women should also get the flu vaccine.

Adult Vaccines That Are Right for You

The vaccines that are best for you depend on your age and other factors, such as:

  • Are you or might you be pregnant
  • Are you planning to travel abroad
  • Have you had your spleen removed
  • Do you work in certain occupations where exposures could occur
  • Are you breast-feeding
  • Are you moderately or severely ill or have a chronic illness
  • Have you any severe allergies, including a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of a vaccine
  • Have you had a disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves or do you have a weakened immune system
  • Have you recently had another vaccine
  • Have you recently had a transfusion or received other blood products

Primary care providers are able to recommend the vaccines that are best for you based on the factors above.  Speak to your healthcare provider to find out if you are up-to-date with your immunizations.