• Vaccines for adults: Which do you need?

a middle-aged woman getting a vaccination shot
It's World Immunization Week, so it's a good time to see if you're up to date on your shots. Just because you're an adult, doesn't mean you shouldn't worry about getting certain vaccinations. Besides influenza you also may need a vaccination for pneumonia, shingles and more. Find out how to stay on top of the vaccines recommended for adults.

What vaccines do adults need?

Vaccines for adults are recommended based on age, prior vaccinations, health, lifestyle, occupation and travel destinations.

The schedule is updated every year, and changes range from the addition of a new vaccine to tweaks of current recommendations. To help determine which vaccines you might need now and which vaccines are coming up, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website for a guide.

What factors might affect my vaccine recommendations?

Several factors can affect whether you need certain vaccines. Tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • Are planning to travel abroad
  • Have had your spleen removed
  • Work in certain occupations where exposure to illnesses could occur
  • Are or might be pregnant
  • Are breast-feeding
  • Are moderately or severely ill, or have a chronic illness
  • Have any severe allergies, including a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of a vaccine
  • Have had a disorder in which your body's immune system attacks your nerves, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Have a weakened immune system or are being treated with an immunosuppressant
  • Have recently had another vaccine
  • Have recently had a transfusion or received other blood products
  • Have a personal or family history of seizures

Your doctor also might recommend certain vaccines based on your sexual activity. Vaccinations can protect you from hepatitis A and hepatitis B, serious liver infections that can spread through sexual contact. The HPV vaccine is recommended for men up to age 21 and women up to age 26.

Find this and other medical information on mayoclinic.org.

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