The Vaccines You Still Need As An Adult

The Vaccines You Still Need As An Adult

You might be missing out on some immune-system superpowers that are yours for the asking at your local GP. Besides protecting yourself — who wants chicken pox and tetanus? — staying up-to-date on shots helps to keep dangerous germs out of circulation and away from others.

Picture: Dylan

Some of the shots that you may need, even as a healthy adult, are ones that protect against:

  • Tetanus, an infection you can get from infected wounds. You may have had a tetanus shot before, but the immunity wears off over time. Get a booster every 10 years, or if you get a deep wound and aren’t sure if your last booster is still good.
  • Pertussis, or whooping cough. Most healthy adults who get pertussis just experience a bad cough that eventually goes away. But you can pass it to children or other vulnerable people, where it can be life-threatening.
  • Chickenpox, which can be more serious in adults than in children. If you didn’t get either the disease or the vaccine as a kid, get it now. (If you’re over 60, you’ll want the shingles vaccine instead, whether you’ve had chickenpox or not.)

Even if you don’t know whether you had these vaccines in the past, it’s usually safe to get another dose; ask your doctor if you have any concerns. Read more at the link below for other vaccines you may be missing.

Vaccines That Boost Your Immunity [Consumer Reports]


  • Is whooping cough / pertussis vaccine a one-and-done kind of deal or does it need a booster like Tetanus? Nowadays I think most kids get the vaccine – I’m fairly sure I did a long time ago – so curious why it would appear in an adult-targeted list like this.

    • The pertussis vaccine loses effectiveness over time, and the reason it is still recommended for adults is because babies can’t get it until 8 weeks and it is very dangerous for a baby to get it – there is basically no treatment.
      From the CDC page:

      In infants younger than 12 months of age who get pertussis, about half are hospitalized. Hospitalization is most common in infants younger than 6 months of age. Of those infants who are hospitalized with pertussis approximately:
      67% will have apnea
      23% get pneumonia
      1.6% will have seizures
      1.6% will die
      0.4% will have encephalopathy (as a result of hypoxia from coughing or possibly from toxin)

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