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Vaccines: Get up to date with this handy checklist

Use this list to talk about immunizations with your doctor

If you’re a young adult, you may be thinking that vaccines are for kids — and that you’re good to go. 

Here’s something important to know: Adults need vaccines too — and many may not be as protected as they think. Here are three key reasons why:

  1. The protection of some vaccines fades over time. So even if you got all your vaccines as a child, you may still need booster shots. 
  2. You may be at higher risk for some diseases because of your health, lifestyle or age.
  3. Vaccines reduce the chance of passing on a serious disease to your loved ones — including babies who are still too young for some immunizations.  

Am I up to date? 

Take this checklist with you to your next doctor visit. And ask your doctor which vaccines may be right for you. Some are only needed in certain cases.*  

❏ Influenza vaccine. Annual immunizations are the best way to prevent the flu. See “The flu vaccine: A yearly to-do.”

❏ Tdap or Td vaccine. Tdap protects against tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). Td protects against tetanus and diphtheria. 

❏ MMR vaccine. This protects against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles). 

❏ Pneumococcal vaccines. These protect against illnesses such as pneumonia. 

❏ Hepatitis A and B vaccines. These protect against serious liver diseases. 

❏ Hib vaccine. This protects against a dangerous bacterial disease called Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). 

❏ HPV vaccines. These protect against human papillomavirus. Certain types of this virus cause cervical and other cancers. The vaccines are recommended for preteen girls and boys. But young women and men may still need them if they didn’t get vaccinated as kids. 

❏ Meningococcal vaccine. This protects against meningitis and blood infections. It’s particularly important for college students who will be living in residence halls and people with certain health conditions. 

❏ Varicella vaccine. This protects against chickenpox. You may need it if you haven’t had chickenpox before or weren’t vaccinated as a child. 

❏ Shingles (zoster) vaccine. This protects against a painful skin rash. It’s generally recommended for adults 60 and older.

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