Do Adults Need Vaccine Boosters?

Ask a Doctor

My daughter is about to start kindergarten and we’re going through all paperwork and appointments to get her ready. We’ve also made sure she’s up-to-date on all her vaccines and immunizations so she won’t get sick or spread disease to others. It made me wonder: I haven’t gotten an immunization in years. Should I? Do adults need vaccine boosters?

Doctor’s Response

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends certain vaccines for adults depending on age or health condition.

  • Flu vaccine: Recommended yearly for adults.
  • Tdap or Td (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis): 1 dose if you did not get it as a child or adult. A booster is recommended every 10 years and women should get 1 dose during every pregnancy.
  • Shingles: 2 doses of the shingles RZV vaccine are recommended at age 50 years or older (preferred) or 1 dose of the shingles ZVL vaccine at age 60 years or older, even if you had shingles before.
  • Pneumococcal vaccine: Recommended after age 65.
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella): Recommended if you were born 1957 or later and you did not get one as a child.
  • HPV (human papillomavirus): Recommended for women through age 26 or for men through age 21.
  • Chickenpox (varicella): Recommended for adults if you did not get it when you were a child.

Depending on your health condition, other vaccines may be recommended including meningococcal vaccine, hepatitis A or B, and Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b).

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Edmond Hooker, MD, DrPH coauthored this article


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018 Recommended Immunizations for Adults. 2018. 27 December 2018 .