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A Guide to Vaccines for Adults Over 50

A Guide to Vaccines for Adults Over 50

People acquire various vaccines early in their lives to protect themselves from certain viruses. It’s a common misconception that getting vaccination shots are only for children. However, adults can get these vaccines too. As we grow older, our immune system starts deteriorating, and it puts us at a higher risk of acquiring diseases. There are different vaccines for adults over 50 to protect and maintain overall health.

Why Are Vaccines Important?

Vaccines are not just important for children, and younger age groups, but it is also a necessity for grown-ups, especially those who are over 50. Vaccines are important for adults because:

You may have lost protection from certain diseases and viruses

The vaccines you may have gotten when you were younger have lost their potency, causing your immune system to weaken. To build a stronger immune system against serious illnesses, you need to get boosters for the vaccines you have had before.

Vaccines not only protect you but also the people around you

It is best to get vaccines if you are always around children or people in general. Vaccines protect your body from contagious diseases that you can pass on to others.

Certain vaccines are only for adults

There are certain vaccines that only adults over 50 can get for themselves. A good example of this is the Shingles vaccine. This vaccine is important for older adults since shingles can develop into something more severe.

Getting vaccines as an adult sets a good example for children

Children shouldn’t be afraid of something that can help them. However, children, in general, are afraid of injections. But, if they see older people getting vaccines, like their parents and grandparents, they will realize that getting shots are necessary and good.

Some vaccines aren’t available during your childhood

Getting immunization shots as a child is not enough to shield you from viruses and diseases when you age. Since viruses evolve and mutate, there may be new strains that you are at risk of getting, or worse, there could be entirely new viruses that you need protection from.

What are the Vaccines for Adults Over 50?

There are specific vaccines for adults over 50 that give them added protection against diseases. Since their age group is more prone to an array of serious health conditions, getting the immunization shot they need is greatly advisable by doctors. Here are the vaccines adults over 50 must consider getting:

Influenza (Flu) vaccine

The influenza vaccine is one of the most important vaccines every individual must get. This is one of the highly advisable vaccines for adults over 50 especially as older populations are more at risk due to age and comorbidities like hypertension and asthma, which are not usually present in younger age groups.

People get the influenza vaccine once a year to improve their immunity against seasonal viruses. Older adults must regularly get their influenza shot since they have a higher risk of contracting more severe flu complications than others.

Pneumococcal vaccine

Pneumonia is one of the most deadly diseases in the world. This disease is prevalent in all age groups but is more invasive to people of age. According to the CDC, older adults ages 65 and above should get 2 doses of pneumococcal vaccines, which include 1 dose of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and 1 dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PCV23) a year after PCV13.

Getting a PCV shot is essential to people who have conditions that put them at higher risk of pneumococcal diseases. The pneumococcal vaccine protects the body against lethal pneumococcal infections such as pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections.

Tetanus, Diphtheria Acellular Pertussis (Tt, Td, Tdap) vaccine

Tdap vaccine gives your body immunization against tetanus (lockjaw), whooping cough (pertussis), and diphtheria. If you are an older adult and you haven’t had a Tdap vaccine, it is best if you get one as soon as possible. It is advisable to get a Td booster every 10 years to increase your immunity.

Shingles (herpes zoster) vaccine

The Shingrix shingles shot is one of the essential vaccines for adults over 50. The CDC recommends that adults ages 50 and above get two doses of shingles vaccine to protect themselves from shingles and its complications.

Hepatitis A vaccine

A hepatitis A vaccine is also one of the advised vaccines for adults over 50, which is needed to protect themselves against hepatitis A, a highly contagious liver disease. You only need 1 hepatitis A vaccine, but this is given in 2 doses over six months.

Hepatitis B vaccine

People ages 50 and above need to get a hepatitis b vaccine to strengthen their immune system against hepatitis b, a viral infection that targets the liver. Hepatitis B is transmissible through bodily fluids such as blood, semen, and saliva. If hepatitis B is not prevented, it can lead to an acute complication such as liver cirrhosis or the scarring of the liver.

Varicella vaccine

People ages 50 and older can get varicella vaccine when they fail to get vaccinated during childhood. Varicella vaccine is to boost the immune system against chickenpox, a highly infectious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV).

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine

Adults over the age of 50 are advised to get a two-dose version of the MMR vaccine that is given several months apart. One of the recommended vaccines for adults over 50, the MMR vaccine protects the body from measles, mumps, and rubella, which are contagious viral diseases. These diseases can easily spread through close contact with someone who has it.

To prevent any medical mishap, make sure to check with your doctor if there are vaccines that you should not take. You can get your vaccine in hospitals, a doctor’s private clinic, and community clinics near you.

Key Takeaways

Vaccines for adults over 50, is it necessary? It is not only children who need vaccines, but also adults. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to see whether there are any vaccines that you need. If you have an older parent, make sure that their vaccinations are updated as well.

Learn more about Healthy Aging here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Vaccines for Adults: Which Do You Need? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/vaccines/art-20046750 Accessed August 20, 2020

Why Vaccinations are Important for You https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/reasons-to-vaccinate.html Accessed August 20, 2020

What Vaccinations are Recommended for You https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/index.html Accessed August 20, 2020

Vaccines You’ll Need After 50 https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2018/every-vaccine-needed-after-age-50.html Accessed August 20, 2020

Get Shots to Protect Your Health https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/doctor-visits/shots-vaccines/get-shots-protect-your-health-adults-age-50-or-older Accessed August 20, 2020


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Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao Updated Sep 07
Medically reviewed by Mia Dacumos, M.D.