By Ellen Bryer, EI blogger

August is National Immunization Awareness Month! People of all ages should be vaccinated to protect their health and the health of the community. During your next visit with your primary care provider, ask them about your vaccination needs and recommendations. They can assess your immunity levels with a blood test, recommend specific vaccines based on occupation or chronic health condition, and answer any questions you may have about vaccine side effects. Here are some general guidelines for adult vaccinations:

  • Influenza. Everyone should get the influenza (flu) vaccine every year to prevent against the seasonal flu.
  • Tdap. Every adult should have one dose of Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis/whooping cough). Most people receive this as a teenager but if not, adults can get the Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster every 10 years.
  • Shingles. Adults 60 and older are recommended to receive the shingles vaccine. 1 in 3 adults over 60 will get shingles. Even people who have had shingles can get the vaccine to prevent it in the future. The risk for developing shingles (a painful skin rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox) increases as you get older.
  • Pneumoccocal vaccines. Adults age 65 and older and recommended to receive one or more pneumococcal vaccines.  Pneumococcal bacteria usually cause mild illness but when they reach other parts of the body such as the lungs, blood or spinal cord, they can cause life-threatening health problems.
  • Additional vaccines (Hepatitis A, Hepatitis, B and HPV). These additional vaccines may be appropriate for certain adults based on travel, age, occupation, medical conditions or immunization history. The CDC has easy-to-read information about immunization for adults with COPD, Asthma, Heart Disease and Diabetes here.

Information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem. Talk to your doctor to learn about the vaccines that are right for you. 


National Public Health Information Coalition

Centers for Disease Control – Vaccination Resources for Older Adults

Centers for Disease Control

Centers for Disease Control – Pneumococcal Vaccines

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