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Immunizations - Adult Immunizations

Shingles (herpes zoster)(What is a PDF document?)

This shot (called Zostavax) protects against shingles.

Who should get it?

  • Adults ages 60 and older need one dose, whether or not they've had shingles before. People ages 50 to 59 can also get this shot, but insurance may not cover it.

Zostavax is not a substitute for the chickenpox shot (Varivax).

Shingles: Should I Get a Shot to Prevent Shingles?

Tetanus and diphtheria (Td)(What is a PDF document?) or Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap)(What is a PDF document?)

The Tdap shot protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis). The Td shot does not protect against pertussis.

Who should get it?

  • All adults need Td booster shots every 10 years throughout life.
  • All adults need one shot of Tdap in place of a Td shot.
  • All pregnant women need a Tdap shot during each pregnancy.

It's important to get the Tdap shot at least 2 weeks before having close contact with a baby.

Other immunizations

You may need or want additional immunizations if certain situations raise your chance for exposure to disease. Or you may have missed shots when you were younger. Or a vaccine may not have been offered when you were younger. These immunizations may include:

Chickenpox (varicella)(What is a PDF document?)

This is important if you never had chickenpox or never got this shot.

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 shot.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

This is important if you never got this shot.

The vaccines Cervarix(What is a PDF document?) and Gardasil(What is a PDF document?) protect against two types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause cervical cancer. Gardasil also protects against two types of HPV that cause genital warts. And it protects against some uncommon cancers, such as vaginal cancer.

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