What Shots Should An Adult Have?

Other than a flu shot and hepatitis vac (I got it in 2005 for Hep A/B, a series of three shots) I can’t remember getting any immunizations since I entered 7th grade when I was 12.

Since my folks are dead now, how would I know if I got them all? I don’t see any small pox mark on my arm, or is that TB where you get the mark?

Should the average adult care? The pertussis thread in GQ got me wondering. Thanks.

I put this here, because I was wondering about adults in general in a Western country, not myself specifically.

Routine smallpox vaccinations began to end in the 70s, but were still common for some time after. The scar may be unnoticeable in adults who were vaccinated as a child, and often migrate away from the arm as one grows. Mine is a tiny mark on my shoulder. In others they can get stretched and appear quite large. Physical examination is an unreliable method of determining if you were vaccinated.

Here is a PDF file from the CDC about adult vaccines (in the US)

And here is the CDC page for information on immunizations for adults.

Here is another PDF file with a chart about adult vaccine recomendations

The smallpox vaccine is very rarely offered anymore, mostly to military only, it seems (based on the questions they give me every time I donate blood). And the TB vaccine is only meant for the young ones, the babies and kids. It does a good job at preventing TB in kids, which usually causes encephalitis and kills them, than it does at preventing chronic, classical tuberculosis in adults.

I was born in 1966 and didn’t receive a smallpox vaccination (my two older sisters did). It just wasn’t being offered where I was living at the time.

As an adult, I got a tetanus booster a couple of years ago - the province of Alberta was having a programme of updating all us adults who hadn’t had one in years and years. I’ve also asked my doctor about a pertussis booster - he didn’t feel it was necessary yet, but I may ask again soon.

In many places, the tetanus shot is combined with the pertussis booster, so it is possible, depending on the type of shot you got, that you had been immunized already against pertussis. A two for one!


Since the question has already been answered, and all.

A few years ago when I was still a smoker, I got the pneumonia vaccine even though I don’t meet any of the criteria in the first PDF in KarlGrenze’s post (not old, not diabetic, no chronic disease). It must have been indicated for all smokers at the time because 1) I read about it and then asked for it and 2) My shitty insurance covered it.

Depends on your age, also. After about 55-60, you should get the pneumo-vax and the shingles vaccine. Perhaps a pertussis booster also.

Good for you on getting the hep vaccines. It’s highly contagious and a nasty bug.

I just recently got a tetanus booster that they called a Tdap and said it was a one time booster that had the pertussis vaccine in it. From now on, you just get the “Td” Tetanus/Diphtheria shot every ten years. The shingles vaccine is for age 50 and older, the pneumonia vaccine is for age 65 and older. Hepatitis A & B if you think you need it and of course, flu yearly.

We just had an adult student who couldn’t go on a study abroad because she had pertussis.

Definitely get the pertussis booster, especially if you work with the public (ESPECIALLY with vulnerable people.) It’s coming back and you don’t want it, but you especially don’t want to give it to, say, a child who cannot be vaccinated because of immune issues.

I don’t want to hijack this thread, but why is it that you can’t get the shingles vaccine before you’re 50? I’m sure a Google search would tell me but I’m lazy…

Anyways, my dad and a co-worker both got shingles before they were 40. I asked my doctor for the vaccine and she said she couldn’t give it to me because I’m too young. I’m 38 and I’d really like to avoid the shingles.

Back in 2012 when I went in for a routine pap smear the doctor was adamant that I needed to get the HPV vaccine. She said it’s effective in women up until the age of 27 or so (I was 23 then). I’m not sure why there’s a somewhat arbitrary age cut off.

Maybe it’s because it’s such a problem over here, but I try to keep up on my rabies vaccination. I had let it lapse and then was bitten by The Mangiest-Looking Dog in the World over here once when I inadvertently wandered too close to her litter of pups. Had to get the whole series then.

Under the age of 50 the odds are 1 in 500 of getting shingles. At 50 your odds increase to 1 in 166.

What are the odds of getting the shingles twice? Happened to my dad. Got them the 2nd time shortly after asking his doc about the vacc and being told he didn’t need it. :smack: