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Shots aren’t just for babies or young children. We all need vaccines throughout our lives to help protect against serious diseases, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Different vaccines are recommended for children, teens and adults. The right vaccines at the right time can help keep people of all ages healthy. What vaccines you need depends on factors like age, health problems, jobs and travel. Some examples:
Immunizations are a vital step to protect people at risk, such as the very young, the very old, and people with weak immune systems or serious illnesses. Some people who are at risk can’t get immunizations. The more people who can have vaccines get vaccinated, the better protected everyone is.
Learn about adult diseases that vaccines can help prevent.
Vaccine-preventable diseases are still around, even the ones that aren’t currently common in the U.S. And they can be spread to people who haven’t had the shots. Measles is one example. It is still common in other countries. So a traveler who hasn’t had the shot can get it and bring it back to the U.S. with them, where it may spread to others.
Before a vaccine is approved for use in the U.S., it goes through testing to make sure it is safe and works well. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluates the results of clinical studies. Safety is watched during use. Like other medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. They are mostly mild.
Check out our Wellness Guidelines to see the recommended vaccinations for adults.
The guidelines are available in English and Spanish in a PDF format for easy downloading or printing.
Get the latest Adult Wellness Guidelines:English Spanish
Children’s and Perinatal Wellness Guidelines are also available. You can see all the latest guidelines any time by logging in to Blue Access for MembersSM (BAMSM). Click Wellness in the top navigation menu, then scroll down to Wellness Guidelines.
Adults with chronic health problems like asthma, COPD, heart disease and diabetes are more likely to get complications from certain diseases. If you have chronic health issues, make sure you know what vaccines you need.
From babyhood to preschool and beyond, keeping your child healthy means following a vaccine schedule. It’s designed to protect against serious diseases, like polio, whooping cough and mumps. Those diseases can result in a hospital stay, or even death.
It’s important to make sure your child is fully vaccinated against these vaccine-preventable diseases. That means finishing the whole series of recommended shots at the right time. Studies have shown they are safe. But veering from the shot schedule is not.
Don’t put off vaccinations for yourself or your child. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
Originally published 7/1/2020; Revised 2021, 2022
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