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12 Vaccines That Adults Should Never Skip


Emcara Health Editors


December 01, 2023


Immunizations aren’t just for kids. Here’s the essential checklist of vaccines adults should keep up with as they age.

Cooler weather marks the start of flu season—and that means it’s time to get your annual flu shot. But there are other vaccines you should be keeping up to date with as well.

Getting vaccinated is crucial for everyone, including adults who are healthy, says Beth Devans, director of clinical operations at Emcara Health. Sometimes, people miss their vaccinations, especially if they don't see a doctor often. Some vaccines you get when you’re a kid protect you for your whole life, but others require a booster shot later to keep working. There are also vaccines for illnesses that only affect adults.

Below is a list of vaccinations that adults over 19 should get and when to get them, according to Devans. Remember, always speak with your primary care physician (PCP) to figure out which vaccines are right for you, especially if you have health problems.

Influenza (flu)

When: Once a year
Doctors suggest that everyone who is 6 months old or older should get the flu shot, especially if their immune systems are not very strong. There are different types of flu vaccines made for different people. These vaccines are created to fight against the most common types of flu and help reduce the number of people getting sick or passing away because of the flu.


When: 6 to 12 months after your last booster
The COVID-19 vaccine protects against negative health effects like long COVID and hospitalization. The vaccines have been changed to protect against new forms of COVID-19. Getting vaccinated and receiving regular boosters is important. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that everyone aged 6 months and older should be vaccinated against COVID.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV

When: Get it now if you’re in a high-risk group
This one-shot vaccine, approved by the Food and Drug Administration this year, prevents RSV, a lung and respiratory tract disease. The CDC suggests that individuals at higher risk of severe RSV, like adults over 60, infants, young children, and pregnant people, should get vaccinated.

Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, or Tdap

When: Every 10 years
The Tdap vaccine protects you from three illnesses: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). You might have gotten the first shot when you were young, but it’s necessary to get a booster every 10 years. Talk to your primary care doctor to make sure you’re up-to-date with your vaccines. If you’re around children, it’s really important to get this vaccine because whooping cough symptoms can be severe for kids and babies.

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)

When: Now, if not vaccinated already
While most individuals receive two doses of the MMR vaccine in childhood, adults who missed it should get at least one dose. This is especially important if you plan on traveling internationally and haven’t been vaccinated before. Make sure to get the vaccine before your trip.

Zoster recombinant, or Shingrix

When: After age 50, sooner if you’re immunocompromised
This vaccine protects you from shingles and its complications. Even if you had chickenpox or shingles in the past, it’s crucial to get this vaccine to avoid getting sick again. You will need two doses of the vaccine, given several months apart, to be fully protected.

Human papillomavirus, or HPV

When: Now, if not vaccinated already
If you’re under 26, it’s important to get the HPV vaccine to protect against infections that can lead to cancer through sexual contact. The number of shots you need depends on when you got your first one. While it’s best to get vaccinated before 26, if you’re over 27, talk to your doctor to decide if getting the vaccine is right for you.


When: After age 65
This vaccine protects against pneumonia, which can be very serious for anyone, but especially for older adults. That’s why doctors recommend it for people over 65. Depending on your previous vaccinations, you might need one or more shots. To make sure you’re fully protected, talk to your primary care doctor.

Hepatitis A

When: Now, if not vaccinated already
The hepatitis A vaccine protects against a severe liver disease. While many people are vaccinated in childhood, if you haven’t been immunized, it’s important to do so now.

Hepatitis B

When: Get it now, if not vaccinated already
Hepatitis B is a liver disease that can spread through sexual contact. While many people get vaccinated during childhood, if you missed it or have a higher risk, talk to your primary care doctor and get the vaccine to stay safe.

Meningococcal A, C, W, Y and, in certain cases, B

When: Get it now, if living in shared housing or if you are immunocompromised
Meningitis vaccines guard against a dangerous brain infection. Usually, teens and preteens get this vaccine as part of their routine shots, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. But if you haven’t had the vaccine, are at higher risk, live in crowded places, or are traveling internationally, your doctor might recommend getting vaccinated to keep you safe.

Holistic Vaccination Care with Emcara Health

With numerous vaccines to keep track of, it’s important to stay connected with your care team. At Emcara Health, our care teams develop a treatment plan for each patient that considers factors like travel plans, existing health conditions, and social barriers to care. This approach ensures you receive the right vaccinations and healthcare for your specific needs.

Emcara Health helps patients keep track of their vaccination status and to schedule future vaccines. By coordinating services, Emcara enhances access to healthcare and simplifies the management of health concerns for patients.

“It’s really important to be proactive,” Devan says. “You want to prevent an illness, rather than being reactive, where you have to go to the doctor and get treated for that.”

Your Emcara Health care team is accessible around the clock to assist you in staying up-to-date with recommended vaccines. Think of us as an extra set of eyes and ears in the home. To learn more about Emcara Health, call us at 1-800-728-0901 between 9 am and 7 pm ET from Monday to Friday.

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