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Checklist: Vaccines for Adults

Grown-ups need to keep vaccinations and booster shots current -- just like kids do.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Keeping up-to-date with your immunizations can be difficult. From when you had your last tetanus booster to whether you should get the flu vaccine, it's easy to lose track of which vaccinations you've had and which you need.

But you should keep tabs on your immunization history. Better to do it now than wait until after you step on that rusty nail or find yourself with adult chickenpox.

Following is a rundown of the vaccinations recommended in the CDC's Adult Immunization Schedule for 2010.

Adult Vaccinations You Need

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Td/Tdap): a booster is needed every 10 years. A pregnant woman who had a shot 10 or more years earlier should get a booster during the second or third trimester. Tdap should be given in place of Td for adults 19-64 years old who have never received Tdap in the past.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): three-dose series given to females age 11-26 who haven't already received the vaccination.
  • Varicella (chickenpox): two-dose series given to adults with no evidence of immunity to the chickenpox virus. Pregnant women should not get this vaccine.
  • Zoster (shingles): one-dose vaccine for adults 50 and older. Pregnant women should not get this vaccine.
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): one or more doses given to adults with no evidence of immunity. Pregnant women should not get this vaccine.
  • Influenza (flu): yearly vaccination given to adults 50 and older and any younger adults who would like to decrease their risk for infection. This is also recommended for younger adults with certain medical, occupational, and other indications including chronic heart or lung disease, diabetes, health care workers, or residents of nursing homes. The vaccine is available as a flu shot and nasal spray flu vaccine. The flu season can range from October to May, and the CDC recommends vaccination throughout the flu season.
  • Pneumococcal: given to adults 65 and older and adults with certain medical, lifestyle, or other indications including cigarette smokers and residents of nursing homes. A one-time booster is given five years later.
  • Hepatitis A: two-dose series given to adults with certain medical, occupational, lifestyle, or other indications including chronic liver disease, illegal drug use, and health care workers.
  • Hepatitis B: three-dose series given to adults with certain medical, occupational, lifestyle, or other indications including chronic liver disease, sexually active adults who are not in a monogamous relationship, injection drug use, and health care workers.
  • Meningococcal: one or more doses given to adults with certain medical or other indications; commonly given to college students living in dormitories or military recruits.

Travelers to some parts of the world or people with professions that bring them into contact with animals might need other vaccines. Be sure to ask your health care provider about which immunizations you need.

Reviewed on February 02, 2011

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