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Vaccines for Adults

Every year, thousands of adults in the United States get sick and are hospitalized from vaccine-preventable diseases. Getting vaccinated will help you stay healthy, so you’ll miss less work and also have more time for your family and friends.

And did you know that when you get vaccinated, you also help protect your family and your community? Because of community immunity, vaccines help keep diseases from spreading to people who may not be able to get certain vaccines, like newborn babies. Learn more about community immunity.

In this section, you’ll find the vaccine information and schedules for:

I’ve gotten all my childhood vaccines. Why do I need more?

Adults need vaccines for several reasons. For example:

  • Some vaccines are recommended only for adults, who are more at risk for certain diseases — like shingles.
  • Protection from childhood vaccines wears off over time so you need additional doses of certain vaccines to stay protected.
  • You may not have gotten some of the newer vaccines that are now available.
  • Some viruses, like the virus that causes the flu, can change over time.
  • You may be at increased risk for diseases based on travel plans, your job, or health conditions.

How do I know which vaccinations I’ve had and which ones I need?

To find out which vaccinations you’ve had, you’ll need to find your vaccination record. Your vaccination record is the history of all the vaccines you’ve had as a child and as an adult. To find your vaccination record:

  • Ask your parents or caregivers if they have your vaccination record.
  • Contact current or previous doctors and ask for your record.
  • Contact your state health department — some states have registries (immunization information systems) that can provide information about your vaccination records.

If you can’t find your record, ask your doctor if you should get some vaccinations again. Learn more about vaccination records.

Last reviewed: December 2017