Vaccines for adults: Which do you need?

Vaccines offer protection from infectious diseases. Find out how to stay on top of the vaccines recommended for adults.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You're not a kid anymore, so you don't have to worry about shots, right? Wrong. Find out how to stay on top of your vaccines.

What vaccines do adults need?

Vaccines for adults are recommended based on your age, prior vaccinations, health, lifestyle, occupation and travel destinations.

The schedule is updated every year, and changes range from the addition of a new vaccine to tweaks of current recommendations. To determine exactly which vaccines you need now and which vaccines are coming up, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.

What factors might affect my vaccine recommendations?

Several factors can affect whether you should get certain vaccines — or wait before getting them. Be sure to tell your doctor if you:

  • Are planning to travel abroad
  • Have had your spleen removed
  • Work in certain occupations where exposures could occur
  • Are or might be pregnant
  • Are breast-feeding
  • Are moderately or severely ill or have a chronic illness
  • Have any severe allergies, including a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of a vaccine
  • Have had a disorder in which your body's immune system attacks your nerves, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Have a weakened immune system or are being treated with an immunosuppressant
  • Have recently had another vaccine
  • Have recently had a transfusion or received other blood products
  • Have a personal or family history of seizures

Your doctor might also recommend certain vaccines based on your sexual activity. Vaccinations can protect you from hepatitis A and hepatitis B, serious liver infections that can spread through sexual contact. The HPV vaccine is available to men and women up to age 26.

Sept. 18, 2015 See more In-depth