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Vaccine Schedule for Adults

The need for vaccinations doesn’t stop when you become an adult. Adult vaccinations, just like childhood immunizations, are important for lifelong good health. While some vaccinations are prescribed only for adults, others are for adults who did not receive the vaccines -- or in some cases, the illnesses they were designed to protect against -- in childhood.

WebMD presents this vaccine schedule, offering basic information about the most common vaccines for adults. In you are traveling to developing countries, your doctor may recommend others. On the other hand, if you are pregnant or have certain health problems or allergies, not all of these vaccinations may be right for you.

Did You Know?

Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will cover preventive care services, including checkups, vaccinations and screening tests, at no cost to you. Learn more.

Health Insurance Center

Your health care provider is the best source of information about the vaccinations you need.

Flu Vaccine Schedule

How it’s given: By injection or nasal spray.

How often/when to get it: Once a year, typically starting in September through the end of the flu season. The earlier you receive it, the better your protection.

Who should get it: All adults should receive the vaccine in some form. The nasal spray vaccine is approved for adults up to age 49 who are in good health and not pregnant. There are also options such as egg-free shots for those with severe egg allergies, shots using smaller needles that don't penetrate as deeply, and high-dose injections for the more vulnerable elderly.

Pneumococcal Vaccine Schedule

How it is given: By injection.

How often/when to get it: One-time vaccination for healthy adults. Re-vaccination after five years is recommended for people with chronic kidney failure or other conditions that lower resistance to infection and for people over 65 who received the first vaccination before age 65.

Who should get it: All adults 65 years of age and older; adults 64 and younger who:

  • Have chronic health problems such as heart disease, lung disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes, alcoholism, cirrhosis, leaks of cerebrospinal fluid, or a cochlear implant
  • Have a disease that lowers the body’s resistance to infection, including lymphoma or leukemia, kidney failure, HIV infection, or AIDS
  • Take medication or treatment that lowers resistance to infection, including steroids, some cancer drugs, and radiation therapy
  • Smoke or have asthma
  • Live in a nursing home or long-term care facility

 

Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Td, Tdap) Vaccine Schedule

How it is given: As a single injection that offers protection against all three diseases.

How often/when to get it: One-time Tdap vaccination followed by Td booster every 10 years.

Who should get it? Adults up to age 64 who have not previously had a Tdap vaccination in place of Td and adults age 65 and older who have not previously received Tdap and have or anticipate having close contact with an infant less than 12 months of age. All adults should receive subsequent Td boosters. Also, pregnant women are advised to receive the Tdap vaccine, preferably between 27 and 36 weeks' gestation, with each pregnancy.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

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