Q&A: Vaccines for every age

Wellness | Safety | July 29, 2019
Young girl getting vaccine from doctor
Getting immunized is the smart choice for the entire family.

Children aren’t the only ones in the family who benefit from potentially life-saving shots.

Staying up to date on vaccines is one of the quickest, easiest and best ways to help people of all ages protect their health.

Q: Why should my whole family be immunized?

A: Vaccinating infants protects them from 14 serious childhood diseases, including life-threatening ones, like diphtheria and whooping cough. Making sure preteens get the full series of HPV shots can help lower their risk for certain cancers later in life.  And older adults need protection from illnesses like pneumonia and shingles.

But vaccines don’t just keep your family from getting sick. They help protect the community too.

Q:  How does vaccinating my family protect the community?

A: Immunizing enough people can break a disease’s chain of transmission. That means there’s less chance for unvaccinated people to get sick. It also helps protect those who are vulnerable, such as newborns before they are medically able to receive all of their shots, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer.

This group protection is sometimes called herd immunity—but we like the term community immunity.

Q: What are some vaccines I might need as an adult?

A: Your annual flu shot, for sure. Your doctor might also recommend shots for:

If you’re going abroad, you may need other shots. Learn more here.​

Q: I'm hesitant to have my kids vaccinated. Are vaccines really safe?

A: All vaccines are thoroughly tested. Their benefits—including saving lives—far outweigh what, for most people, are minimal risks.

Q:  I think I've been vaccinated, but don't know for sure. How can I find my immunization records?

A:  It depends on how old you are and where you grew up. Some states have centralized vaccination record tracking; others do not. And there is no national database of immunization records. Read tips on where you to look for your immunization record and what to do if you can't locate them.