Vaccines for children and adults


Staying current on immunizations is a crucial component of maintaining your health — from birth to adulthood. Vaccines help to reduce your risk for getting sick and for spreading certain diseases to those most vulnerable to them.

Children and Adolescents (Newborn–18 Years)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood vaccinations play an essential role in helping to provide a child with immunity before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.

There are a number of immunizations recommended for children and adolescents, some of which may require more than one dose. For a full overview, the CDC offers an easy-to-read immunization schedule for children (birth to 6 years) and for pre-teens and teens (7 to 18 years). Talk to your child’s pediatrician or doctor for more information.

Adults (19 years and older)

The following is an overview of vaccinations most often recommended for adults. Additional vaccinations may be recommended based on your employment, health history, travel plans or if you are pregnant. Ask your primary care provider whether you have any gaps in your immunization history.

Influenza

Recommended Age: Recommended once per year (typically in the fall) for all individuals over the age of 6 months.

Why It's Important: Influenza, or the flu, is a highly contagious viral illness that affects the respiratory system. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and serious cases may lead to hospitalization or even death. The flu spreads from person to person through tiny droplets introduced into the air when a person coughs, sneezes or talks. Vaccination is the best defense.

The CDC recommends all adults and children be immunized every year against the flu. The flu vaccine is especially important for older adults, those with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems and those who are pregnant. For individuals who are 65+ and up, ask your doctor about the high-dose flu vaccine.

Pneumococcal

Recommended Age: Recommended for those 65+ or those with certain medical conditions (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, cancer or HIV) even if they are younger than 65.

Why It's Important: This vaccine protects against serious pneumococcal diseases, such as meningitis, bloodstream infections and pneumonia. Anyone can develop pneumococcal diseases at any point in their lifetime; however, those at increased risk for serious complications include young children, older adults and individuals with certain health conditions.

SHINGLES

Recommended Age: Recommended for all healthy adults over the age 50, the Shingrix shingles vaccine consists of two doses, separated by 2 to 6 months. According to the CDC, adults should still get this shingles vaccine even if they have previously had shingles, received Zostavax (a previous type of Shingles vaccine) or are unsure if they had chickenpox earlier in life.

Why It's Important: Shingles is a painful condition consisting of rash, blisters and severe pain that may lead to other serious complications, such as blindness. It is the body’s reawakening of the virus the causes chicken pox earlier in life.

According to the CDC, one in three people in the U.S. will develop shingles. Shingles risk increases as you age.

TETANUS

Recommended Age: If you have not previously received this vaccine, you should receive one dose. All adults should receive a booster every 10 years.

Why It's Important: Tetanus is an infection of the body when tetanus bacteria break through the skin via wounds, burns, insect bites and other entry points. Tetanus often leads to “lockjaw,” which involves jaw cramping, painful muscle stiffness, trouble swallowing, seizures, fever and other serious symptoms.