There are many things adults want to give to loved ones – illness is not one of them

You want to pass on certain things like family traditions, a grandmother’s quilt or dad’s love of books – but no one wants to pass on a serious illness. Take charge of your health and help protect those around you by asking about vaccines at your next doctor’s visit.

Vaccinating our children is fairly commonplace in the United States. But many adults don’t know which vaccines they need, and even fewer are fully vaccinated. Each year, tens of thousands of adults needlessly suffer, are hospitalized, and even die as a result of diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. In 2014, only 28 percent of adults ages 60 and older had received a shingles vaccine and only 20 percent of adults older than 19 had received a Tdap vaccine.

Vaccine-preventable diseases make you very sick, and they can also make your family members sick. You can help protect your health and the health of your loved ones by getting your recommended vaccines so you don’t spread the infection to them. Babies, older adults and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases. They are also more likely to have severe illness and complications if they do get sick.

Getting vaccinated is easier than you think. Adults can get vaccinated at doctors’ offices, pharmacies, workplaces, health clinics and health departments. Visit vaccine.healthmap.org to help find a vaccine provider near you. Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines – a call to your insurance provider can give you the details.

All adults should get an annual flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu and a Td vaccine every 10 years to protect against tetanus and diphtheria. You may also need other vaccines based on your age, health conditions, occupation, and other factors. If you are planning to travel outside of the U.S., check on any additional vaccines you may need. Some travel-related vaccines are part of a series or are needed months prior to your travel to be most effective, so be sure to plan ahead.

What vaccines do you need?

All adults should get:

  • Annual flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu
  • Td/Tdap to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis

Some additional vaccines you may need (depending on your age, health conditions and other factors) include:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Meningococcal
  • Pneumococcal
  • Shingles
  • Tdap

Traveling overseas? There may be additional vaccines you need depending on the location.

If you’re not sure which vaccines you need overall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a short quiz at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adultquiz to help you figure out which vaccines you might need. Share the results of your quiz with your doctor to discuss which vaccines are right for you.

For more information about adult vaccines: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults.

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