Many adults don’t know which vaccines they need, and even fewer are fully vaccinated. Not only can vaccine-preventable diseases make you very sick, but if you get sick, you may risk spreading certain diseases to others. That’s a risk most of us do not want to take. You can help protect your health and the health of your loved ones by getting your recommended vaccines.
CDC Recommended Immunizations by Age
Frequently Asked Questions About Vaccines & Immunizations
Are vaccines safe?
Yes. The longstanding vaccine safety system in the United States ensures vaccines are safe. Safety monitoring begins with the FDA, which ensures the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for the United States. Before the FDA approves a vaccine for use by the public, the results of studies on safety and effectiveness of the vaccine are evaluated by highly trained FDA scientists and doctors. The FDA also inspects the sites where vaccines are manufactured to make sure they follow strict manufacturing guidelines. The FDA and CDC continue to monitor vaccines after licensing to ensure continued safety of the vaccines in the U.S.
Why do adults need vaccines?
All adults need vaccinations to protect against serious diseases that could result in severe illness requiring medical treatment or even hospitalization, missed work and not being able to care for family. Vaccines are recommended throughout your life. Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, you may be at risk for other diseases due to your age, job, lifestyle, travel or health condition. In addition, the protection from some vaccines can wear off over time.
Why do kids need vaccines?
Vaccines can prevent infectious diseases that once killed or harmed many infants, children, and adults. Without vaccines, your child is at risk for getting seriously ill and suffering pain, disability, and even death from diseases like measles and whooping cough. The main risks associated with getting vaccines are side effects, which are almost always mild (redness and swelling at the injection site) and go away within a few days. Serious side effects after vaccination, such as a severe allergic reaction, are very rare and doctors and clinic staff are trained to deal with them. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children. The only exceptions to this are cases in which a child has a serious chronic medical condition like cancer or a disease that weakens the immune system, or has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous vaccine dose.
What vaccines do adults need? How often and when do they need them?
The vaccines a person needs are based on their age, medical conditions, occupation, vaccines they have received in the past and other factors. Taking the CDC adult vaccine quiz is one way to find out which vaccines you might need. Discuss the results with your health care provider to make sure you are up to date on the vaccines recommended for you.
What vaccines do kids/adolescents need? How often and when do they need them?
Vaccines are recommended for children based on age, health conditions, and other factors. Taking the CDC child/adolescent vaccine quiz is one way to find out which vaccines your kids might need. Discuss the results with your child's health care provider to make sure they are up to date on the vaccines recommended for them.
What are the potential risks from vaccines?
Side effects from vaccines are usually mild and temporary, such as soreness where the shot was given or a slight fever that goes away within a few days. Some people may have allergic reactions to certain vaccines, but serious and long-term effects are rare. However, the benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risks. Anyone who gets a vaccine should be fully informed about both the benefits and the risks of vaccination. Any questions or concerns should be discussed with a health care professional.
Do I really need a flu vaccine every year?
Yes. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone 6 months and older, even when the viruses the vaccine protects against have not changed from the previous season. The reason for this is that a person's immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccination is needed to get the “optimal” or best protection possible against flu. Adults should get a flu vaccine, if possible, by the end of October. More information about the flu vaccine can be found on the CDC's website
Where can I get more information?
- Talk with your doctor or other health care professional about which vaccines are right for you.
- Visit the CDC’s website for information on vaccines and immunizations .
- Take the CDC quiz to find out which vaccines are recommended for you .
- Take the CDC quiz to find out which vaccines are recommended for your children.
- Use the Idaho Immunization Program's website for information on vaccines and immunizations in Idaho .
- Visit HealthCare.gov's website more information on adult vaccines and the Affordable Care Act .