Doctor Visits

Get Vaccines to Protect Your Health (Adults Age 50 or Older)

Health care provider helping older woman walk

The Basics

Overview

Older adults need to get vaccines (shots) to prevent serious diseases. Protect your health by getting all your vaccines on schedule.

If you're age 50 or older:

If you're age 65 or older:

It's also important for all adults to: 

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about other vaccines you may need to stay healthy.

Health Benefits

Why do I need to get vaccines?

Vaccines help protect you from diseases that can be serious — and sometimes deadly. Many of these diseases are common, but vaccines can prevent them. 

Even if you've always gotten your vaccines on schedule, you still need to get some vaccines as an older adult. That's because: 

  • Older adults are more likely to get certain diseases
  • Older adults are at higher risk for serious complications from diseases
  • The protection from some vaccines can wear off over time 

Getting vaccinated also protects other people.

When you get vaccines, you don't just protect yourself — you also protect others. This is especially important if you spend time around anyone with a long-term health problem or a weakened immune system (the system in the body that fights infections). 

Protect yourself and the people around you by staying up to date on your vaccines. Find out how getting vaccinated helps protect people in your community

Other Vaccines

Do I need any other vaccines to help me stay healthy?

You may need other vaccines if you:

  • Didn’t get all your vaccines when you were a child
  • Have a health condition like HIV that makes it harder for your body to fight off infections
  • Have a long-term health condition like diabetes or heart, lung, or liver disease
  • Are a man who has sex with men
  • Smoke
  • Spend time with infants or young children
  • Travel outside the United States

And you may need other vaccines if you work in a:

  • School or daycare center
  • Hospital or clinic
  • Nursing home
  • Prison

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need any other vaccines. You can also use this tool to find out which vaccines you may need.

Take Action

Make a Plan

Talk with a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about getting up to date on your vaccines.

Make a plan to get your vaccines.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor or nurse to get the vaccines you need. You may also be able to get vaccines at your local pharmacy.

If you’re not sure where to start, call your doctor’s office or local health department.

Get a seasonal flu vaccine every year.

Remember, everyone age 6 months and older needs to get the seasonal flu vaccine every year.

What about cost?

Under the Affordable Care Act, most private insurance plans must cover recommended vaccines for adults. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get your vaccines at no cost to you. Check with your insurance company to find out more.

Medicare also covers most recommended vaccines for older adults at no cost. If you have Medicare, use this tool to see what Medicare covers.

If you don’t have insurance, you still may be able to get free or low-cost vaccines:

To learn more, check out these resources:

Keep a Record

Keep a copy of your vaccination record.

Ask your doctor to print out a record of all the vaccines you've had. Keep this record in a safe place. You may need it for certain jobs or if you travel outside the United States.

If you're not sure which vaccines you’ve had, try these tips for finding old vaccination records. If you still can’t find a record of your vaccines, talk with your doctor about getting some vaccines again.

Content last updated May 10, 2022

Reviewer Information

This information on vaccines for older adults was adapted from materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reviewed by:
Health Communication Science Office
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention