Adult immunizations - a shot of prevention could keep you well

Did you know that there are over ten different vaccines that adults can receive to help prevent serious disease?

Did you know that there are over ten different adult vaccinations available for disease prevention? Unless you’ve traveled out of the country or are a healthcare worker, chances are you don’t spend too much time thinking about your immunization records.

Some of the more commonly known vaccinations – measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) – many adults received as a child. However, anyone born before 1957 without documentation that they have had measles, mumps and rubella disease should receive a MMR vaccine.

Did you know that adults can get chickenpox? If you were born in the U.S. in 1980 or later and have not had the chickenpox virus, you should receive the varicella vaccine. Adults who have only received one dose of the varicella vaccine in their lifetime need a second shot. Some people who are vaccinated against chickenpox may still get the disease; however, it is usually milder with fewer red spots or blisters and little or no fever. Many of the healthy adults who die from chickenpox contract the disease from their unvaccinated children.

Vaccinations can protect you from becoming critically ill, permanent disability and, in some cases, even death. The Michigan Department of Community Health and the Vaccine Education Center offer this helpful resource:


Dosage needed for full protection

Meningococcal meningitis

One or more dose. Adults who remain at an increased risk may need a second dose five years after the first dose.

Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis


One vaccine (Tdap) protects. If it has been ten years since their last (Tdap) or have had a wound and it has been five years since your last shot.

Human papilloma virus (HPV)

All women through 26 years should receive a HPV4 or HPV2 vaccine series. All males through 26 years may receive a HPV4 vaccine series to reduce their risk of getting genital warts.

Influenza (flu)

Adults – Flu vaccination are recommended every year.

Hepatitis A

Adults - The hepatitis A vaccine is given in two shots. The second shot is given six to 12 months after the first shot. You should get both hepatitis A vaccine shots to be fully protected.

Hepatitis B

Adults - The hepatitis B vaccine is given in three shots over six months. You must get all three hepatitis B vaccine shots to be fully protected.

Varicella (chickenpox)

Adults – Born before 1980 or later, a second shot is likely needed.

Measles Mumps Rubella

Adults – Born after 1957 or later without proof that they have had MMR should have a MMR vaccination.

Zoster (shingles)

Adults – 60 years and older who wish to reduce their risk should get the zoster vaccine.


(pneumococcal disease)

Adults – 19 years through 64 years of age need one to two doses of this vaccine in a lifetime.

Please keep in mind that if you have a chronic health condition, a weakened immune system, HIV/AIDS or cancer, are     on chemotherapy, have had an organ transplant or if you use immunosuppressive medications including long term use of steroids, you may be at a greater risk for complications should you be exposed to these viruses.

One way to keep track of your vaccination record is to use the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR). This national database is used to track immunization records. Most healthcare providers use and upload patient information into this accessible system. Talk with your healthcare provider and review the adult immunization guidelines on the CDC webpage.

To learn more about disease prevention and to register for our health and nutrition workshop visit Michigan State University Extension

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