All adults should get vaccines to protect their health. Even healthy adults can become seriously ill, and can pass certain illnesses on to others. Immunization is especially important for older adults and for adults with chronic conditions such as asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), diabetes or heart disease. Immunization is also important for anyone who is in close contact with the very young, the very old, people with weakened immune systems, and those who cannot be vaccinated.
All adults should get the influenza (flu) vaccine each year to protect against seasonal flu. Every adult should also get the Td or Tdap vaccine once if they did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years. In addition, women are also recommended to get the Tdap vaccine each time they are pregnant, preferably at 27 through 36 weeks.
Adults may need other vaccines – such as shingles, pneumococcal, hepatitis, HPV – depending on one’s age, occupation, travel, health status, vaccination history, and other risk factors. Vaccines are an important step in protecting adults against several serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases.