I’m healthy. I’m too busy. I don’t like shots.
Adults can find plenty of reasons to get behind on preventive care, including their immunizations.
Don’t Skip the Shots
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine recommendations are divided into three age groups — birth to age 6, ages 7 to 18, and 19 and older. In case you missed it, that means preventive care isn’t just for children.
The CDC’s recommendations are based on factors such as exposure risk and health status. For adults, that means:
- You can become at risk for certain diseases if your immunization wears off over the years. Tetanus, chicken pox and whooping cough are a few that can become a risk for you as you age.
- If you have a poor immune system because you have a health condition, you may need a booster shot. You may need a different vaccination schedule. Or you may need to avoid some vaccines. Be sure to mention any health issues you have if a doctor suggests that you get a vaccine.
- Some vaccines aren’t taken until you are over age 50, like the shingles vaccine.
- If you plan to travel to other countries, you may need vaccines for diseases common in other areas of the world, like yellow fever or measles. Don’t leave the country until you’ve checked.
A List for Grown Ups
Just because you’re not a child or teen going back to school in the fall doesn’t mean you don’t need to immunize.
The CDC recommends that adults get immunized against these diseases, depending on your risk factors:
- Influenza (flu)
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Varicella (chicken pox)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Keep in mind that some vaccines call for multiple doses over time. For example, the shingles vaccine requires two shots taken a month apart.
Be smart about prevention.
For a list of all vaccines adults should get at what age, visit vaccines.gov.
Details about these and other adult preventive care steps that health experts recommend can be found in our adult wellness guidelines.