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Immunizations - Adult Immunizations

Recommended immunizations

Your need for immunizations does not end when you reach adulthood. The specific shots (injections) you need as an adult 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. Tetanus and diphtheria shots need to be repeated every 10 years throughout adulthood in order to keep your immunity.

Each year the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American College of Nurse-Midwives recommend a specific adult immunization schedule(What is a PDF document?). Your doctor will consider your medical and immunization history (and documentation) when deciding which shots you need.

Immunizations given during adulthood may include:8

Flu (influenza)(What is a PDF document?)

This immunization helps protect against the flu. Flu viruses are always changing, so the flu vaccines are updated every year. Protection lasts up to a year for each flu vaccine type.

Who should get it?

  • All adults need one dose each year. It is especially important for:
    • People at higher risk of severe flu.
    • Close contacts of people who are at higher risk, including people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months.

Healthy people ages 2 years through 49 years can usually get the nasal spray flu vaccine (FluMist)(What is a PDF document?) instead of the flu shot. Pregnant women can get the flu shot but not FluMist. People ages 18 to 64 can get the intradermal flu shot instead of the regular flu shot. The intradermal vaccine gets injected into the skin instead of the muscle. And it uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot.

Adults ages 65 and older can get a high-dose flu shot.9 Studies are being done to see if the high-dose shot protects older adults better than the standard-dose shot.

For the most current CDC guidelines about the flu, go to www.cdc.gov/flu.

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