Vaccinations for Adults: Why Should You Take & Which Vaccinations Should be Taken

Whenever someone thinks of vaccines, it is the tears in the eyes of the kid at the physician’s clinic, what one can imagine of, for a mere fact that it is the only way we have been practicing for ages. We all have always perceived that the vaccinations are meant for only babies and young children however the fact of the matter is that vaccinations are not always about getting a cartoon character bandage on the arm after getting the vaccination injection. Rather, the adults too require the vaccinations.

According to Dr. William Schaffner, MD and President of NFID (National Foundation for Infectious Diseases), vaccination is as important for adults as it for children, however, the bitter known fact is that the adults are still not optimally vaccinated.

Why Should Adults Get Vaccinated?

Why Should Adults Get Vaccinated?

Following are some of the reasons for an adult to get vaccinated:-

Some Vaccines Are Meant Only For Adults

There are certain vaccines that are meant only for adults for example the shingles vaccine. Shingles is also known as zoster or herpes zoster which is caused by the reactivation of chickenpox virus. The symptoms include painful and severe skin rash. As the age of an individual progresses, the risk of the Shingles, increase and therefore, the Shingle’s vaccine is recommended for individuals who are 60 years of age or above.

Adult May No Longer Be Immune

An individual might have received a vaccination as a child however some vaccines require a booster dose to continue to remain immune from the micro-organism and keep the levels of antibodies maintained in the body. The vaccinations taken during your childhood can’t ensure a lifetime protection. For example, vaccination given for whooping cough (pertussis) or tetanus along with Diphtheria Toxoid can’t ensure lifelong protection against Pertussis or Tetanus. The apex body recommends a booster dose, after every 10 years of the initial childhood vaccination dose.

Adult Vaccination Keeps Your Kids/Babies Safe

Some vaccinations like Whooping cough are prescribed by the physicians to the pregnant women especially the ones who are in their 27 -36 weeks of gestation or individuals who have contact with babies. Another example is the Flu vaccine.


The adults may require vaccinations especially when he or she is travelling to a developing country because of the increase in the risk of getting infected. For example, according to CDC, if an adult is travelling to tropical South America or parts of sub Saharan Africa, Yellow Fever vaccination is required. Similarly, while travelling to Saudi Arabia, the individual needs to get the vaccination of Meningococcal. CDC’s website has a complete list of vaccinations required for travelling to a particular country.

May Have Missed out Vaccination as a Child

There are certain percentage of individuals who might have missed vaccination(s) as a child. In such a case, your body, even as an adult grown body, is still not immune to the micro-organism for which you had missed the vaccination. Therefore, it becomes utmost important to take the vaccination that you missed during your childhood especially vaccinations like measles, rubella, mumps and chickenpox.

Needed by Everyone

Flu has become a very common disease these days and therefore getting a Flu vaccine, becomes very important. As per the CDC, each individual should take the Flu vaccine, annually, right from the age of one, keeping aside any exceptions (allergic reaction to Flu vaccine or any other prevalent medical condition). The Flu vaccine is prepared to make the human body immune against 3 – 4 most common form of influenza strains.

Newer Vaccinations

With time, new vaccinations are created for adults and therefore it makes sense to get the new vaccinations to make your body immune against the micro-organisms in concern. For example, Shingles and HPV vaccines were released by the FDA in the year 2006.

To Pass on the Legacy of Healthy Living to Your Children

Out of the various ways of keeping your body healthy, getting vaccinated on time, is one of them. Children learn by seeing what their parents do. Therefore, getting yourself vaccinated too on time, passes on the message to the children about the importance of vaccination. This, therefore, ensures that, their children would continue the same legacy of getting vaccinated on time, when they would become adults.

Work as a Healthcare Professional

As a healthcare professional, you might have to work with all sorts of infections including bodily fluids and blood. Therefore, such professionals should not only take the vaccinations on time but at the same time, should also prove their immunity to various diseases like Hepatitis B, mumps, rubella and measles. The influenza vaccine should be taken annually even after you quit working as a healthcare professional.

Started Going Back to School

As an adult, you may decide to go back to school to upgrade your knowledge or to acquire a special skillset. In such a case, your college may require you to get vaccinated against specific diseases or furnish the proof of getting vaccinated in the past. In case, if your parents have not saved your medical records, which prove that you have already been vaccinated, there is no harm in taking those particular vaccinations again.

Sexually Active

It is very important for an individual to get vaccinated against particular diseases especially if he or she is sexually active with multiple partners. One such vaccine is for Hepatitis B. Your partner may not look sick however he or she might carry the disease. It can get transferred by a person to other person through the contact of semen, blood or vaginal fluid. The chances of a person getting infected by Hepatitis B, during the sexual intercourse is, 50-100 times more than HIV.

Susceptibility or Already Suffering From Chronic Diseases

In case if your body is susceptible to diseases like Asthma, Diabetes, Heart and Lung disorder or is suffering from any of these, the immune system gets compromised. Similar is the case, if you smoke cigarettes regularly. In such a case, the Pneumococcal Vaccine helps in making the individual immune to meningitis, pneumonia as well as blood infection caused due to Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Which Vaccinations Should be Taken by Adult?

An individual is never too old to start taking vaccination. A strict vaccination regime ensures a healthy and immune body which shall lead to better quality as well as longevity of life.

Get in touch with your physician to discuss your vaccination chart depending upon your medical condition. Discussed below are some of the important vaccinations that an adult individual can take:-

  1. Tdap

    Tdap means Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis or Whooping Cough. Any one of these diseases can result out into severe illness or even death. According to a research done, it was found that the cases of Diphtheria and Tetanus have gone down by 99% and that of Whooping cough by 80%, with the introduction of this vaccination in the market.

    Who Should Take It?

    Following are the cases, in which an individual can take Tdap vaccination

    • This vaccination is suitable for each and every individual but with very few exceptions of allergic reaction to the constituents of Tdap vaccination.
    • The immuno-compromised individuals or people vulnerable to diseases should also take this vaccination.
    • If you are pregnant, taking the Tdap vaccination ensures the protection of the fetus against Whooping Cough.

    Who Should Avoid It?

    An individual should avoid Tdap vaccination, if he or she has a medical history of allergic attack or seizures due to Tdap.

    What is the Schedule of Tdap Vaccination?

    • In case of pregnancy, the pregnant lady should take Tdap vaccination during the 26th – 30th week, however, the baby shall get his own vaccination with the name DTaP, once he or she is born.
    • If an individual works around infant(s), he or she should get vaccinated with Tdap, at least 2 weeks before coming in contact with them.
    • Ideally an individual should get a booster dose for Diphtheria as well as Tetanus also called as Td, every 10 years or whenever he gets exposed to Tetanus.
  2. Flu

    According to a research conducted by the researchers from Harvard, it was found that the risk of having flu decreases by half if an individual gets the Flu shot. Even after taking the vaccination, if the individual still gets infected with Flu, it shall remain for a shorter duration and shall also be less severe.

    Who Should Take It?

    Every individual can take the Flu vaccine, however, if you are pregnant or have long term history of disease and or are above 65 years of age, you ought to take the Flu vaccine.

    Who Should Avoid It?

    If an individual is allergic to eggs or has a medical history of life threatening allergic reaction to Flu vaccine or had or have Gullian Barre Syndrome in which issues like weakness of muscles, tingling in the muscles or even loss of the movement of the muscles happen, he or she should avoid the Flu vaccination.

    What is the Schedule of Flu Vaccination?

    Since, Flu vaccine makes the human body immune to the Flu virus only for a single flu season, therefore, it is important to take the Flu vaccination every year. Usually anytime between, late November to early April, is the perfect time to get Flu vaccination.

  3. HPV

    HPV vaccine is also called as Human Papillomavirus vaccine. The severity of the disease can be analyzed from the fact that the infection caused by Human Papillomavirus can cause vulvar, cervical and vaginal cancer in women and penile cancer in men. Apart from these, it can cause throat cancer, anal cancer as well as genital warts in both men and women.

    Who Should Take It?

    • The Human Papillomavirus vaccine is recommended for girls and boys of the age of 11 to 12 years old. This is the apt age for them to get the vaccine before they get exposed to the Human Papillomavirus virus.
    • If the kids miss the vaccine at the age of 11 years, it can still be taken till the age of 26 years for women and 20 years for men. Further, the men who are in sexual relationship with other men can take the Human Papillomavirus vaccine until the age of 26.

    Who Should Avoid It?

    Pregnant women and individuals who are allergic to the dose should avoid taking the Human Papillomavirus vaccine.

    What is the Schedule of HPV Vaccination?

    The Human Papillomavirus vaccine is administered in 3 doses. The second dose is administered, a month or maximum 2 months after the first dose, depending upon the medical condition of the individual. The third dose is administered after 6 months.

  4. Hepatitis A & B

    Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are the two viruses that infect an individual’s liver. According to a research done, it was found that nearly 4 out of 100 people get infected with Hepatitis A and B every year and therefore it becomes very important to take this vaccination. The vaccination for Hepatitis A and B, keeps the human body immune for nearly 25 years.

    Who Should Take It?

    Following are the cases in which it becomes a necessity to take the Hepatitis A & B vaccine:-

    • Acute or Chronic liver disease
    • If an individual is suffering from Hemophilia which a clotting factor disorder
    • If a man has sex with another man
    • If an individual consumes illegal drugs
    • While travelling to any other country
    • An individual who has come in contact with another individual suffering from Hepatitis A

    Who Should Avoid It?

    Individuals having allergy to the constituents of Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B vaccine should avoid taking the vaccination. Further, in case if you are pregnant, let your physician know about it, especially when it is Hepatitis A Vaccination.

    What is the Schedule of Hepatitis A & B Vaccination?

    The Hepatitis B vaccine is administered in 3 shots, placed 6 months apart whereas the Hepatitis A vaccine is administered in 2 shots, placed 6 months apart. Lately, a combination of Hepatitis A and B vaccine has also been introduced which is administered in 3 doses.

  5. Pneumococcal

    The Pneumococcal bacteria can cause blood infection, pneumonia, meningitis or even death. To make the human body immune to the Pneumococcal bacteria, an individual needs to take 2 vaccines, i.e. Pneumococcal Polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) and Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine (PCV13).

    Who Should Take It?

    Ideally the Pneumococcal vaccine is recommended by physicians after the age of 65, however, in certain cases, for individuals who are of at least 19 years of age and have had the following conditions, are also administered the vaccination:-

    • Have had a cochlear implant
    • The individual is already living with chronic illness
    • Have had an organ transplant
    • Immunocompromised immune system due to HIV or any other illness
    • The individual is suffering from Sickle Cell disease
    • The individual is a chain smoker

    Who Should Avoid It?

    The individuals for whom it has already been detected that their body undergoes severe allergic shock on administration of Pneumococcal vaccination, should avoid it.

    What is the Schedule of Pneumococcal Vaccination?

    As per the CDC, individuals should receive both the Pneumococcal vaccinations i.e. Pneumococcal Polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) and Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine (PCV13). The first one should be PCV13 followed by PPSV23 with a gap of at least one year.

  6. Chickenpox

    It’s mostly the kids who require the Chickenpox vaccination, however, in certain cases, the adults may also require it too. Before 1995, both adults and kids used to take the Chickenpox vaccination.

    Who Should Take It?

    Ideally the Chickenpox vaccination is taken by kids only, however, in the following cases, an adult may have to take it too:-

    • If you work in military
    • If you work as a healthcare worker
    • If you are studying in the college
    • If you work in a prison or jail
    • If you are travelling to some other country, especially to the developing countries
    • If you are of a childbearing age.

    Who Should Avoid It?

    Following are the certain cases where an individual should avoid taking the Chickenpox vaccination:-

    • During pregnancy, the Chickenpox vaccination should be avoided. The ideal time to have it would be one month after the birth of the baby
    • If the individual is suffering from AIDS, HIV or cancer and is taking medications for the same.
    • If the individual has a medical history of blood transfusion

    What is the Schedule of Chickenpox Vaccination?

    The Chickenpox vaccination comes in 2 doses which are administered by the physician with a gap of 28 days.

  7. Measles, Mumps, Rubella

    In order to make a person immune to Measles, Mumps and Rubella, MMR is the vaccine that should be given as it protects the person against these diseases. Since all the people, even in the developed countries are not vaccinated with MMR, therefore, the cases of Measles, Mumps and Rubella are on the rise.

    Who Should Take It?

    Any individual who has a birth year, post 1957, should get a MMR vaccine, even if he or she hasn’t suffered from Measles. Also, in the following cases, he or she should take the MMR vaccine:-

    • In case, if he or she is working as a healthcare worker, college student or a teacher
    • If he or she is travelling outside the country, especially to developing countries.

    Who Should Avoid It?

    Following are the cases in which one should avoid taking the MMR Vaccine:-

    • If you are pregnant
    • If you are suffering from cancer
    • If you are suffering from AIDS or HIV
    • If you are on cancer medication
    • If you are suffering from a blood disorder
    • If you have had another vaccine within 4 weeks
    • A recent of history of blood transfusion
    • If you are ill

    What is the Schedule of Pneumococcal Vaccination?

    The vaccination comes in a single dose only and therefore the physician can administer it in a single go.

  8. Shingles

    Shingles is also known as Herpes Zoster virus. The Herpes Zoster virus vaccine has been there in the market since 2006 and its effectiveness can figured out from the fact that it has been successful in reducing the cases of Shingles by 51%. It not only makes the human body immune against the Herpes Zoster virus but also against the condition called as Postherpetic Neuralgia (burning pain after the down set of Shingles).

    Who Should Take It?

    Following are the cases in which taking the Shingles vaccination is essential

    • Individuals who are above the age of 60
    • Have had chickenpox in the past, as Shingles and Chicken Pox are caused by Herpes Zoster virus
    • A previous encounter of Shingles

    Who Should Avoid It?

    Following are the cases in which an individual should avoid taking Shingles’ vaccination:-

    • If the individual is allergic to antibiotic (neomycin) or gelatin
    • If a women is pregnant
    • If the individual is immunocompromised due to some illness or medication

    What is the Schedule of Shingles’ Vaccination?

    • The vaccination comes in a single dose only and therefore the physician can administer it in a single go.
    • Vaccinations are the most cost effective interventions available in the market. Every penny spent on it doesn’t only improves the quality of one’s life but also ensure fewer healthcare spending in the future. Therefore, sit with your doctor and discuss your adult vaccination plan soon before it turns out to be too late.

Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 23, 2018

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