What Every Adult Should Know for National Immunization Awareness Month

National Immunization Month

For many adults and parents, it is easy to let their health take a backseat to many of their other daily concerns. While they are often cognizant of their children’s health and vaccination schedules, it is easy to overlook or even forget vaccinations that they may be overdue for. The CDC recommends that adults are regularly vaccinated against several different illnesses.

Thousands of adults in the United States contract preventable diseases every year, resulting in medical bills from hospitalization and other complications. Vaccines can protect you from unwanted infection as well as protect other people who cannot be vaccinated because of pre-existing medical conditions.

In addition to following the CDC’s recommended schedule of adult vaccinations, the best way to make sure that you stay healthy and up to date is by taking control of your own immunization health. We have put together a list of tips for vaccination health as well as a schedule of adult vaccinations to help you stay on top of your vaccination game:

Tips for Adult Vaccination:

Keep track of your records: Unfortunately, there is no centralized location for vaccination records in the United States. If you have been seeing the same primary care physician for a number of years, they should have your records. However, if you have moved and/or changed physicians, you may need to put in some extra work into tracking down your vaccination records. You may need to contact old schools, previous employers, health offices or clinics, or the state health department to see if you are able to find records of your previous vaccinations. 

If you are not sure, ask your doctor: If you think you’ve missed the window for a certain vaccination, ask your physician if you’re still able to receive it. Your doctor can help you decide which vaccines are important for you to receive and help you schedule your appointments. If you are not sure which vaccinations that you should have received as an adult, see the list below:

Adult Vaccination Schedule:

16- 26 years old

  • Influenza: 1 dose annually
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap): 1 initial dose of Tdap & boosters every 10 years
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): 1-2 doses
  • Varicella: 2 does (if born after 1980)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): 2-3 doses

27 – 50 years old

  • Pneumococcal conjugate (PCv13): 1 dose
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV23): 1 dose
  • Hepatitis A: 2-3 doses, if not received before
  • Hepatitis B: 2-3 doses, if not received before
  • Meningococcal A,C,W,Y: 1-2 initial doses, then booster every 5 years
  • Meningococcal B: 2-3 doses, if not received before
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b: 1-3 doses, if not received before

50+ years old

  • Zoster recombinant (RZV) or Zoster live (ZVL): 1-2 doses
  • Pneumococcal conjugate (PCv13): 1 dose, if not received before
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV23): 1 dose

Additional Vaccines

Physicians also recommend that adults with certain health conditions, professions, or who will be traveling receive additional vaccinations. If you meet any of those conditions, contact your physician about any of the vaccines listed below and what they would recommend for you:

Pregnant women: If you are pregnant, vaccination is particularly important because the baby will get any disease immunity passed on from the vaccinations you receive. Doctors recommend that pregnant women are vaccinated against whooping cough, the flu, and hepatitis B. If you need additional vaccines, your doctor can recommend them based on your history.

Healthcare workers: Protecting yourself against unknown infections and diseases is crucial when you are working in a high-risk situation where other patients could carry communicable diseases. If you work in healthcare, it is recommended that you are vaccinated for hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal, chicken pox, and the flu. Check with your employer to see if they require any other additional vaccines or safety precautions.

International travelers: If you are planning to travel internationally or live out of the country, you may need to be vaccinated against additional illnesses. Using the CDC’s vaccine self-assessment tool, research what vaccines you will need for the location you will be visiting. Some countries may not require additional vaccinations, while others do. Make an appointment at least 4-6 weeks in advance with your doctor to be vaccinated, so that your body can build full immunity and you have some time in case you need to come back in for any other reason.

If you think that you should not receive immunizations because of an allergic reaction that you have had in the past or because of a medical condition, speak to your doctor about what vaccines you should avoid. Every vaccine is different and your doctor is the best resources to help you navigate immunization issues. 

Ready to catch up on your immunizations? Call our team at Capital Women’s Care to schedule an appointment.

Our Mission

The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.


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