May 01, 2018

Vaccinations

Recommendations for older adults

The need for vaccinations doesn't end after childhood. Each year people die or are injured by diseases that could have been prevented by basic adult vaccinations. While the vaccines you need depend on your health, medical history and risk of exposure to illnesses, here's a look at those considered routine for most adults 50 and older.

Recommended for everyone

  • Flu — Caused by the influenza virus, flu is a highly contagious viral respiratory disease.

    Recommendation — Vaccination is recommended for people of all ages. The circulating flu virus changes its structure each year, so an annual vaccination is needed. The injectable vaccine does not contain live virus.

  • Shingles — Shingles (herpes zoster) is a painful, localized skin rash, often with blisters, that's caused by the same varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox. The virus remains in the nerve cells after a chickenpox infection.

    Recommendation — The zoster vaccine can help prevent shingles in adults, even if they don't recall having had chickenpox. There are two vaccines — Zostavax and Shingrix. Shingrix is newer, more effective and preferred by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Shingrix vaccine is recommended for adults 50 and older, whether or not they've previously had chickenpox or shingles. People who've had a Zostavax vaccine should also be vaccinated...