Haven't had a tetanus shot in a while? Find out how to catch up on your vaccines.
If you've ever thought, "Aren't shots for kids?" you aren't alone. Studies show that about half of adults are behind on immunizations, and that the older you get, the more likely it is you're behind.
It turns out you still need a tetanus shot as an adult. And there are several immunizations you should receive if you never received them as a child. There also are vaccines you should get—and some you should not get—if you have certain medical conditions.
How do I know which immunizations I need?
A great time to ask your doctor about immunizations is during your annual physical. Most health plans cover this checkup 100% when you use an in-network doctor. Many adult immunizations also are covered 100% under preventive care benefits.
If you're pregnant, or planning on getting pregnant, talk with your doctor about vaccines during pregnancy.
See the chart below for an adult immunization schedule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Use this schedule to start a conversation with your doctor about which immunizations you should consider.
|Flu shot||One dose annually|
|TD (Tetanus, diptheria) or TDaP (Tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough)||Substitute TDap for Td once, then Td booster every 10 years|
|MMR (Measles, mumps, rubella)*||One or two doses, depending on indication|
|Chickenpox (VAR)*||Two doses if you've never had the disease or vaccine|
|Shingles (HZV)*||One dose|
|HPV (Human papillomavirus)—Female||Three doses|
|HPV—Male*||Three doses||Three doses|
|PCV13* (pneumococcal)||One dose||One dose|
|PPSV23* (pneumococcal)||One or two doses, depending on indication||One dose|
|Hep A (Hepatitis A)*||Two or three doses depending on vaccine|
|Hep B (Hepatitis B)*||Three doses|
|MnACWY or MPSV4* (Meningococcal)||One or more doses, depending on indication|
|MenB* (Serogroup B meningococcal)||Two or three doses depending on vaccine|
|Hib* (haemophilus influenza type b)||One or three doses, depending on indication|
Those vaccines marked with a * are for adults with certain medical conditions.
|Recommended for adults who meet the age requirement and have not received the vaccine or been infected with the disease||Recommended for adults with additional medical conditions or other indications||No recommendation|