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Immunizations - Adult Immunizations

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.

Who should get it?

  • Females 13 to 26 years old need either Cervarix or Gardasil if they did not get the shot when they were younger. Three doses are given over 6 months.
  • Males 13 to 21 years old need Gardasil if they did not get the shot when they were younger. Three doses are given over 6 months.
  • Males 22 to 26 years old who have a weak immune system or who have sex with men need Gardasil if they did not get the shot when they were younger. Three doses are given over 6 months.

If you already have HPV infection, talk with your doctor about whether to get immunized. The shot has not been shown to help existing HPV infection, but it may protect you from other HPV infections.

Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)(What is a PDF document?)

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

This shot protects against measles, mumps, and rubella.

Who should get it?

  • Adults born during or after 1957 may need one or two doses if they do not have evidence of immunity.

Women should avoid becoming pregnant for 28 days after getting the MMR shot. Women who are known or suspected to be pregnant and people who have impaired immune systems should not get this shot.

Meningococcal (conjugate or polysaccharide, depending on your age)(What is a PDF document?)

This shot protects against a bacteria that causes meningitis and blood infections (sepsis).

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 01, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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