Vaccinations - Adult 

Updated: Oct 09, 2015
  • Author: Abimbola Farinde, PharmD, PhD; Chief Editor: Mary L Windle, PharmD  more...
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Vaccinations in Adults

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) annually reviews the recommended adult immunization schedule to ensure that the schedule reflects current recommendations for the licensed vaccine. Vaccines are recommended for adults on the basis of their age, prior vaccinations, health conditions, lifestyle, occupation, and travel. [1]

Vaccines recommended for routine immunization are discussed below. Note that the following vaccines may also be recommended for additional age groups depending on risk factors.

For the CDC’s current specific vaccination recommendations by vaccine and age group, recommendations based on medical and other indications, and contraindications and precautions, please refer to the CDC’s Adult Immunization Schedules. [1]

Influenza - 1 dose annually

Guidelines on immunization from the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices specify that the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) should not be administered to some persons, including the following: [2, 3, 4]

  • Persons who have experienced severe allergic reactions to LAIV, any of its components, or a previous dose of any other influenza vaccine
  • Children aged 2-17 years receiving aspirin or aspirin-containing products
  • Persons who are allergic to eggs
  • Pregnant women
  • Immunosuppressed persons
  • Children aged 2-4 years with asthma or who have had wheezing in the past 12 months
  • Persons who have taken influenza antiviral medications in the previous 48 hours

Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis - every 10 years

Varicella - 2 doses for adults without evidence of immunity

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) - 1 or 2 doses should be documented for adults born after 1957

Human papillomavirus (HPV) - 3 doses for girls/young women and 2-3 doses for boys/young men

Zoster - a single dose


2015 Guidelines on immunization from the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices provide the following guidance: [2, 3, 4]

  • Administer 1 dose of PCV13 if any incomplete schedule of 3 doses of PCV (PCV7 and/or PCV13) were received previously. Administer 2 doses of PCV13 at least 8 weeks apart if unvaccinated or any incomplete schedules of fewer than 3 doses of PCV (PCV7 and/or PCV13) were received previously.
  • All adults aged 65 years and older should have the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) in addition to the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) to protect against pneumococcal infection.

Additional 2015 Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices provided recommendations on the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) are summarized as follows: [5, 6]  

  • For immunocompetent adults aged  65 years and older who have not previously received pneumococcal vaccine, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) makes the following recommendation for intervals between pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) followed by pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23): A dose of PPSV23 should be given 1 year or more following a dose of PCV13. The 2 vaccines should not be co-administered. If a dose of PPSV23 is inadvertently given earlier than the recommended interval, the dose need not be repeated.
  • The ACIP currently recommends that a dose of PCV13 be followed by a dose of PPSV23 in persons aged 2 years or older who are at high risk for pneumococcal disease because of underlying medical conditions.
  • Children with an immunocompromising condition or functional or anatomic asplenia should receive a second dose of PPSV23 5 years after the first PPSV23 dose.

Additional vaccines that may be recommended in adults depending on risk factors and vaccination history

Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)


Hepatitis A and B