Talk to your doctor to make sure you’re protected.
Measles. Polio. Pneumonia. Whooping cough. COVID-19. With so many illnesses — new and old —cropping up, it’s crucial for your loved ones to be protected against these and more.
“It’s really important that everyone, especially children, get caught up with any vaccinations that they may be behind on,” said Natalie Blum, system director of Quality at PeaceHealth.
All ages need protection
Since babies and children can be especially vulnerable, many shots are recommended at this stage. From birth to age 18, children will typically receive about 30 vaccine doses to protect against more than a dozen conditions. (Download the latest schedule of vaccinations recommended by the CDC for children.)
Vaccinating children is simple, safe and effective — and far more affordable than treating the illness or complications from it. But regular shots aren’t only for kids.
Most adults need vaccines as well — to protect themselves and those nearby.
About 40,000 to 50,000 American adults die from vaccine-preventable infectious diseases (or complications from those diseases) each year.
That’s part of the reason why health experts encourage most people older than 50 to get a shot (series of two) to prevent shingles. Many of those older than 65 may also need a pneumonia vaccination. (Download the latest schedule of immunizations recommended by the CDC for adults.)
How many shots?
The number of recommended shots you need during your lifetime will vary by vaccine, age, immunization history and health status.
In some cases, one injection could protect you for the rest of your life. In others, you might need a series of shots over a few months or years for full protection.
For instance, a flu shot is encouraged every year for everyone older than six months, with a few exceptions. But a booster to prevent tetanus is generally recommended every 10 years.
Need to find your immunization record? Read tips on where to look for your immunization records and what to do if you can't locate them.
Insurance, pharmacy and doctors
Most insurance plans cover the cost of shots, and many vaccinations are available at your neighborhood pharmacy. If you know you're due for a certain vaccine, you can talk about the options with your pharmacist.
Your primary care provider is a great source to help you understand which shots you and your loved ones should get to stay fully protected.
“If you want the full picture on your immunization status, talk to your doctor,” Blum said.