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Get Shots to Protect Your Health (for Adults)

The Basics

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

  • Get a flu vaccine 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. Learn about the Tdap shot.
  • Get a Td shot every 10 years to keep you protected against tetanus and diphtheria. Learn about Td shots.
  • If you are age 60 or older, get shots for older adults. Older adults need shots to protect against diseases like pneumonia and shingles.

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

Why do I need to get these shots?
Shots (vaccines) help protect you against diseases that can be serious and sometimes deadly. Many of these diseases are common.

Even if you got all your shots as a child, you still need shots as an adult. The protection from some shots can wear off over time. Also, as you get older, you may be at risk for other illnesses, like shingles.

Getting shots doesn't just protect you – it also protects 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, nurse, or pharmacist 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. You may also be able to get shots at your local pharmacy.

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

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

What about cost?
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010, insurance plans must cover many shots for adults. Depending on your insurance, you may be able to get your shots at no cost to you. Talk to your insurance company to learn more.

If you don’t have insurance, you still may be able to get free shots.

Keep a copy of your vaccination record.
Ask your doctor to print out a record of all the shots you've had. 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 had, try these tips for finding old vaccination records. If you still can’t find a record of your shots, talk with your doctor about getting some shots again.

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