U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Get Important Shots

The Basics

Adults need shots (vaccinations) just like kids do. Make sure you are up to date on your shots.

  • Get a flu shot every year. The seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu.
  • Get the Tdap shot to protect against tetanus (“TET-nes”), diphtheria (“dif-THEER-ee-ah”), and whooping cough (pertussis). Everyone needs to get the Tdap shot once, and pregnant women need a dose during every pregnancy.
  • Get a Td shot every 10 years to protect against tetanus and diphtheria.
  • If you are age 60 or older, get a shot to prevent shingles. Shingles causes a rash and can lead to pain that lasts for weeks or months.
  • If you are age 65 or older, get a shot to prevent pneumonia. This shot is sometimes called PPSV. Some adults will also need a shot to prevent pneumonia before age 65.

Ask your doctor or nurse if there are any other shots you need to stay healthy.

Why do I need to get these shots?
There are 3 main reasons to stay up to date on your shots.

  1. Vaccines help protect you against diseases that can be serious and sometimes deadly. Many of these diseases are common.
  2. The protection from some shots you got as a child can wear off over time.
  3. As you get older, you may be at risk for other illnesses, like shingles.

Vaccines don't just protect you – they can also protect the people around you. Some people in your family or community may not be able to get certain vaccines because of their age or health condition.

Protect yourself and those around you by staying up to date on your shots.

Do I need any other shots to help me stay healthy?
You may need other shots if you:

  • Didn’t get all of your shots as a child
  • Have a health condition like HIV that makes it harder for your body to fight off infections
  • Have a health condition like diabetes or heart, lung, or liver disease
  • Are pregnant
  • Are a man who has sex with men
  • Smoke
  • Spend time with infants, young children, or older adults
  • Work in a school, hospital, prison, or health clinic
  • Travel outside the United States

Ask your doctor or nurse if you need any other shots.

Take Action!

Take Action!

Talk with a doctor or nurse about getting up to date on your shots.

Find out which shots you need.
Take this quiz to find out which shots you may need. Print out the results and take them with you to your next checkup. Make a plan with your doctor or nurse to get the shots you need.

Or use this vaccine clinic locator to find out where you can get important shots.

Get a seasonal flu shot every year.
Everyone age 6 months and older needs to get the seasonal flu vaccine every year.

What about cost?
Many shots for adults are covered under the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get your shots at no cost to you.

  • If you have Medicare or private insurance, check with your insurance company to find out what’s included in your plan. Ask about the Affordable Care Act.
  • If you don’t have insurance, you still may be able to get free shots.

For information about other services covered by the Affordable Care Act, visit HealthCare.gov.

Keep a copy of your vaccination record.
Ask your doctor to print out a record of your shots (vaccinations). Keep this record in a safe place. You may need it for certain jobs or if you travel outside the United States.

If you aren’t sure which shots you’ve already received, try these tips for finding old vaccination records. If you still can’t find a record of your vaccinations, talk with your doctor about getting some shots again.

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