The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the following immunizations for adults:
Flu (influenza) vaccination
All adults should get a yearly flu shot unless they have had a severe allergic reaction to the flu short or allergic to egg protein. Healthy adults under age 50 may be able to receive a nose spray (FluMist) instead of a shot. You are at highest risk of getting influenza and/or developing complications from the infection if:
Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination ("Pneumovax")
You should have the pneumococcal vaccine at least once in your life if:
You need a booster shot five years or more years after the first vaccination if:
Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis ("Td" and "Tdap")
Most people these shots in childhood. But everyone needs a booster for tetanus and diphtheria every 10 years. One time in your adult years, your shot should include a pertussis (whooping cough) booster. Adolescents and adults don't usually get severely ill from whooping cough, which can cause uncomfortable symptoms for several months.
Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine ("Gardasil")
Three doses are recommended for all girls and women 9 through 26 years old, and for boys and men 9 through 21 years old. This protects against the virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer. The shots should precede the start of sexual activity for the best protection. The follow-up doses should occur at two months and six months from the first vaccine date.
Varicella "part 1" (chickenpox vaccine)
If you had chickenpox in the past, you won't get it again. If not, you need two doses of the vaccine to be protected. Most people born before 1980 are probably protected because most of them had chickenpox as children. Protection against the virus means that, if exposed to infection, you would not get the rash, fever, and possibly serious pneumonia that can come with an adult chicken pox.
Varicella "part 2" (shingles vaccine, "Zostavax")
Chickenpox and shingles are caused by the same virus, varicella. To prevent shingles, you need a one-time vaccination after age 60, even if you have previously had shingles. People who are immune to chickenpox can still get the shingles, a painful skin rash. It's also called herpes zoster. This occurs because the varicella virus can hide from your immune system in small knots of nerve tissue next to your spine, called dorsal roots. The virus then can attack later in life. The shingles rash appears just on the area of skin that has nerve connections to the dorsal root. Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles.
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)
Most younger adults had shots in their childhood to prevent measles, mumps, and rubella, but many people need a booster. About 9 out of 10 adults born before 1957 were infected as children and have strong immunity. But younger adults and health care workers of any age may need a booster. You need a booster if:
Hepatitis B vaccination
Hepatitis B is spread through sexual contact, contact with blood, and sometimes contact with an infected person. Ask your doctor if you need the three shots in the hepatitis B series. It is recommended for people who:
Hepatitis A vaccination
Two doses are given. You need this vaccine if:
A one-time vaccine is now routinely recommended for children ages 11 to 18. Adults need this vaccine if they:
Some of the vaccines above are live virus vaccines. Live vaccines might be not given to people with weakened immune systems, or people who have close contact with such a person. Ask your doctor whether this concern applies to you.