Adult Immunizations: Brief Version

What shots do I need?

Like children, you need shots to help keep you from getting sick from some illnesses. The shots can help prevent some serious health problems.

Here are some of the shots you may need:

  • Tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis)
  • Flu
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • HPV
  • Shingles

When should I get my shots?

Here’s what you should do:

Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis. Get the 3-shot series for these infections if you didn’t get the shots when you were a child.

  • Start with the first shot now.
  • Have the second shot 4 to 8 weeks later.
  • Get the third shot 6 to 12 months after that.

After the 3-shot series, you should:

  • Get a booster shot every 10 years.
  • Get a booster shot if you get a cut, scrape, bite, or puncture wound more than 5 years after your last shot.

Some booster shots don’t protect against whooping cough. You should get a one-time booster shot that does. It’s called the Tdap shot. Ask your healthcare provider about this.

Flu. Get the flu shot every October.

Some healthy people under the age of 50 can get the vaccine in a nasal spray. You cannot use the spray if you are pregnant or over 50. Ask your healthcare provider about this.

Pneumococcal disease. Get this shot if:

  • You are 65 or older.
  • You are younger than 65 and have a serious medical problem, like diabetes or lung disease.
  • You have HIV or are a man who has sex with men.

HPV. Get the 3 shots for this infection if you are between 9 and 26 years old. The shots, for males and females, are given over 6 months and protect against genital warts. The shots protect women against cervical cancer.

Shingles. Get this shot if you are 60 years old or older. It can help prevent a painful rash caused by the chickenpox virus.

What about other shots?

Ask your healthcare provider if you should get shots for these other infections:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis A
  • Measles/mumps/rubella (MMR)
  • Chickenpox

You may need shots for other diseases if you travel to other countries. Your healthcare provider or public health department can tell you what shots you need. Check on which shots you will need 2 or 3 months before your trip.

Where can I get the shots?

You can get your shots at:

  • Your healthcare provider’s office
  • A clinic
  • Your local health department

You can also get some shots at the drugstore.

If you’d like to find out more about it:

You can call your local health department.

Or you can contact:

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-04-29
Last reviewed: 2014-04-29
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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