Doctor Visits

Get Vaccines to Protect Your Health (Adults Ages 19 to 49 Years)

A man gets a vaccine from a health care provider.

The Basics


Adults need to get vaccines (shots) just like kids do. Make sure you're up to date on your vaccines to help protect your health.

  • Get a flu vaccine every year. The seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu. Learn more about the flu vaccine.
  • Get the Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis). Everyone needs to get the Tdap vaccine at least once — and some people might need more doses. For example, pregnant people need a dose during every pregnancy. Learn about the Tdap vaccine.
  • After you get a Tdap vaccine, get a Td vaccine every 10 years to keep you protected from tetanus and diphtheria. Learn about the Td vaccine.
  • Get the HPV vaccine to protect against HPV (human papillomavirus). HPV is a very common infection that can cause cancer. Everyone needs the HPV vaccine by age 26 years. If you’re ages 27 to 45 years and you haven’t gotten the HPV vaccine, talk to your doctor. Learn more about the HPV vaccine.
  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.

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 against diseases that can be serious — and sometimes deadly. Many of these diseases are common, but vaccines can prevent them. 

Even if you got all your vaccines as a child, you still need vaccines as an adult. The protection from some vaccines can wear off over time, like the Td vaccine for tetanus and diphtheria. And as you get older, you may be at risk for other diseases.

Getting vaccinated also protects other people. 

Getting your vaccines doesn't just protect you — it also protects the people around you. Some people in your family or community may not be able to get certain vaccines because of their age or a health condition. 

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:

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

And you may need other vaccines if you work in certain places, like a hospital or nursing home.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need any other vaccines. Find out what vaccines are recommended for you.

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 yearYou can use this tool to find flu vaccines near you.

What about cost?

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

If you don't have insurance, you may still 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 — you may need to get some vaccines again. 

If you got vaccinated for COVID-19, you might have a paper card that lists when and where you got your vaccine doses. Keep the card in a safe place with the rest of your vaccine records. If you lost the card or don’t have one, you can contact the pharmacy or doctor’s office where you got vaccinated for COVID — or your state’s health department — to get a copy of your vaccination records. 

Content last updated March 11, 2024

Reviewer Information

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

Reviewed by:
Justin Mills, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P 
Medical Officer, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Program  
Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement  
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality