Vaccines for Adults

Published on August 27, 2021

Vaccines are routinely administered to children, but not so commonly to adults. Did you know that, beside the COVID-19 vaccine, several vaccines are recommended in adults? While some vaccines are advised for all adults, others are recommended for people at a high risk of infection. Most adults are not aware that they need to take these vaccines. Others may choose not to take them since the vaccines are not covered by the national immunisation programs and come at a price.

The COVID-19 vaccine is currently recommended for all adults, except in some extremely rare situations. Several types are available, and boosters or vaccines that address new variants are likely to be recommended in the coming years.

Besides the COVID-19 vaccine, here are some vaccines recommended in adults:

  • The influenza vaccine: The influenza vaccine that protects against seasonal flu is recommended for all adults every year. Like the COVID-19 virus, the influenza virus undergoes mutations, and a new vaccine is released every year to deal with the prevalent strain.
  • The Tdap vaccine: The Tdap vaccine, which protects against three deadly infections, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, is recommended as a booster dose in adults every 10 years till the age of 65 years. It contains a lower dose of the vaccine as compared to the DTaP vaccine, which is used in children. The Td vaccine, which protects against tetanus and diphtheria is sometimes used instead of the Tdap vaccine. Pregnant women also receive the Tdap vaccine, or only the tetanus vaccine in some countries.
  • The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine: The HPV vaccine protects against genital warts in both men and women, and against cancer of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus, in women. The HPV vaccine is recommended in adolescents or young adults, usually between the ages of 11-26 years. It is best administered before the onset of sexual activity. It should not be administered during pregnancy.
  • Pneumococcal vaccine: Pneumococcal bacteria result in lung and blood infection and meningitis. Two pneumococcal vaccines are often used in adults, the pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV23) vaccine and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13), the choice of the vaccine depending on the age of the person and any underlying health condition.
  • The zoster vaccine: The zoster vaccine protects against herpes zoster, which could affect nerves. The vaccine is recommended for older individuals since they are at a higher risk of developing the condition. It available in India is a live vaccine, is recommended for individuals over 60 years of age with normal immune status. The recombinant form of the vaccine, available in the US, is recommended for adults over 50 years and can be administered to people with reduced immunity.

Other vaccines that are recommended based on individual risk are the chicken pox or varicella vaccine, hepatitis A and B vaccines, meningococcal vaccine, typhoid vaccine, Haemophilus influenzae type B (HiB) vaccine, measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine, cholera vaccine and Japanese encephalitis vaccine.

The exact recommendations of vaccines for adults vary among countries.

So, the next time you meet your physician, check if you need to take any of the shots mentioned above (of course, in addition to your COVID-19 vaccination).

Disclaimer: The information provided in this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor or healthcare professional, or the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician. Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider for any medical condition, procedure, or treatment.