The Flu Shot & 5 Other Vaccines You Need to Consider as an Adult

6 Vaccines Adults Need to GetWhen we think of vaccines, we tend to think of the ones children are required to get. For many of us, unless you're planning a trip overseas, it may have been years since you last got any sort of shot. And while some may say that's irresponsible, it's also understandable, considering the amount of confusion out there about what immunizations adults need. Because, after all, we only really ever hear about the flu shot, right? 

But the flu vaccine isn't the only one recommended for adults. And while specific immunizations you may need as an adult are determined by factors such as your age, lifestyle, health conditions, locations of travel, and previous immunizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, certain shots are recommended for most adults ...

More from The Stir: 10 Flu Shot Pros & Cons to Help Decide If It’s for You

  • The Tdap Vaccine

All adults (19 and older) who have never received the Tdap vaccine are urged to get the shot, which covers tetanus, diptheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Tdap is especially important for health care workers who have direct contact with patient, caregivers of infants under 1 year old, including parents, grandparents, and babysitters, pregnant women in their third trimester (ideally 27th through 36th week), even if they have previously received Tdap vaccine; this can protect a newborn from whooping cough in the first months of life, new mothers who have never received the Tdap, and people who travel to countries where pertussis is common.

  • The Flu Shot

Similarly, the CDC says adults -- especially those at high risk of influenza complications like pregnant women and older adults -- need the flu shot. That's not to say that there isn't confusion and skepticism about how often it's required or whether we ought to get it at all.

Dr. Matthew Levy, D.O., assistant professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, spoke with us and explained the case for annual flu immunization:

There's this message that if you get the flu shot, you're going to come down with the actual flu. I hear people say that after they get the shot, they feel ill. It's not from the shot, it's coincidental. There are people who say I got the shot and I got [the flu] anyway. The immune system is a remarkable thing. It remembers foreign things it has seen before. So, if every year you get a flu shot, your body doesn't forget that, [but] the flu changes. So, it is beneficial to get vaccinated every year.

  • The Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine

Some shots that aren't necessary unless you fit specific circumstances. For instance, adults who have never had chickenpox or received the vaccination should be vaccinated against it. Two doses of the vaccine should be given at least four weeks apart.

  • The Hepatitis B Vaccine

Adults who have diabetes or at risk for hepatitis B are also advised to get that immunization.

  • Shingles Vaccine

Some shots are reserved for seniors and people with certain health conditions. For example, adults over 60 years old need the shingles vaccine.

  • Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

Adults over 65 or those with conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes, or alcoholism need the shot for pneumococcal disease.

If you're ever wondering if you're up to date or need certain immunizations, it's best to speak with your own doctor about which shots are recommended for you and/or take this CDC quiz to determine which you need.

Why do you think there's so much confusion over which vaccines adults need? Are you up to date on yours? 


Image via europedistrict/Flickr

general health, illness, cold & flu, vaccines


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

youth... youthfulsoul

Up to date here. I kept procrastinating this year on the flu shot. Finally went 2 days ago and it was a breeze. Didn't feel the needle and has no ill effects from it. Even my toddler didn't cry when they stuck him.

SaphireH SaphireH

I made sure like hell i was up to date on my Dtap because i've got 3 kids and im not risking them with pertussis

the4m... the4mutts

Nope. And not going to be.

nonmember avatar andie

@the4mutts, another conspiracy theorist? The government is out to get us? Look, if you don't want to be up-to-date on your vaccines, that's your business. But please vaccinate your kids. It's a public health issue and can mean the difference between life and death for them, and for those who, for various health reasons, cannot get vaccinated.

miche... micheledo

Not up-to-date and I have no intention of getting up to date.

the4m... the4mutts

Omg, a random person on the internet gave me advice? I better follow it ASAP!

femal... femaleMIKE

Another article with the intention to cause 100+ argementative comments.

nicki... nicki.hemingway

And this piece of pseudo science brought to you by....The Stir. 

aeneva aeneva

Yeah really the4mutts I guess I should ignore my doctor's advice on when and why to give or not give my children vaccines based on some random person on the internet who based their advice on one simple sentence.  As for this article it is ridiculous and there simply to get people arguing.  If you are confused about what you need talk to YOUR DOCTOR who has your health history not random people on the internet.

BriBr... BriBri1407

No thank you. How can people argue about what others want to put in their bodies. If the whole reason to get vaccinated is to prevent the sickness or whatever then it shouldn't matter if someone who didn't vaccinated be around someone who did your "protected" right? Just like people who say well my kid got them and isn't sick my kid doesn't getting them and is just fine. As a teen I got the 3 HPV shots I'm 23 now and just recently read about girls who got it and of course the long term side effects are starting to present themselves and it's "lawsuit" time luckily I'm good but still. Just like 80% of doctors who get cancer refuse chemo it's some who don't even get their own kids vaccines or themselves what are they? Conspiracy theorist? Lol 

1-10 of 28 comments 123 Last