UC San Diego Health
menu iconMenu
search iconSearch
Health Library Explorer
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A-Z Listings Contact Us
Related Reading

Adult Immunization Schedule


How Often

Disease Prevented

Who Needs It


Every year

Flu. This can be especially dangerous to elderly adults or people with immune disorders.

All adults.

Tetanus, diphtheria (Td); or Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap)*

One dose of Tdap, then one dose of Td as a booster every 10 years

Tetanus (lockjaw), a disease that causes muscles to spasm

Diphtheria, an infection that causes fever, weakness, and breathing problems

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough. This is a highly contagious disease that can cause serious illness.

All adults

*This vaccine should be given during each pregnancy no matter how many years since the last vaccine. The vaccine increases protection for your newborn. A newborn is too young to get the vaccine, but at the highest risk for severe illness and death from pertussis.

Varicella (Var)**

One series of 2 injections

Chickenpox. This is a disease that causes itchy skin bumps, fever, and tiredness. It can lead to scarring, pneumonia, or brain inflammation.

Adults who don’t have evidence of immunity

**This vaccine should not be given to pregnant women. Women should avoid pregnancy for 4 weeks after the vaccine.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

One series of 3 injections

Cervical cancer, caused by certain types of HPV

Vaginal and vulvar cancer

Penile cancer

Head and neck cancers

Anal cancer

Genital warts

Females and males ages 26 and younger. Minimum age is 9 years.

(Ask your healthcare provider if this vaccine is right for you.)


1 dose

Herpes zoster (shingles), a painful rash marked by blisters

Adults ages 60 and older.

***You should not get this vaccine if your immune system is low. For example, if you have HIV, are taking medicines that suppress your immune system, or are getting cancer treatment.

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)**

1 or 2 doses, for ages 19 through 49; 1 dose for ages 50 and older if at risk

Measles, a disease marked by red spots, fever, and coughing

Mumps, a disease that causes swelling in the salivary glands. It may affect the ovaries or testes.

Rubella (German measles). This is a form of measles that can cause birth defects if a pregnant woman catches it.

Adults born in 1957 or later who are not known to be immune to all 3 of these diseases. Ask your healthcare provider if you need a second dose.

**This vaccine should not be given to pregnant women. Women should avoid pregnancy for 4 weeks after vaccination.

Pneumococcal (PCV 13)

1 dose

Pneumonia. This is an infection that causes inflammation in your lungs. It can lead to death.

Adults ages 65 and older. Also, adults ages 19 and older with weak immune systems or any of these health conditions: chronic renal failure, nephrotic syndrome, or both. Or functional or anatomic asplenia, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks, or cochlear implants.

Pneumococcal (PPSV23)

 1 or 2 doses

Pneumonia.. This is an infection that causes inflammation in your lungs. It can lead to death.

Adults ages 65 and older. Also, adults with chronic illnesses, such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, alcoholism, sickle cell disease, or history of splenectomy. In addition, adults with an immune disorder and adults who smoke cigarettes.



1 or more doses

Meningococcal disease (bacterial meningitis). This is inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. It can lead to death.

Adults with immune deficiencies or high risk of exposure. Also, college freshmen living in dormitories and military recruits.

Hepatitis A (HepA)

One series of 2 injections

Hepatitis A. This is an infection that can result in acute liver inflammation and yellow skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice).

Adults with risk factors, such as clotting disorders or chronic liver disease, and adults with high risk of exposure

Hepatitis B (HepB)

One series of 3 injections

Hepatitis B. This is an infection that causes chronic, severe liver disease.

Adults with high risk of exposure, such as healthcare providers and sanitation workers, and adults with diabetes

Travelers’ diseases

As needed

Infections such as cholera, typhoid, yellow fever, polio, rabies, meningococcal disease, hepatitis A, hepatitis B

Adults traveling out of the country. Required vaccines will vary, depending on the country you visit. Check CDC website: www.cdc.gov.


Based on the CDC National Immunization Program recommendations for adults.

Online Medical Reviewer: Holloway, Beth, RN, M.Ed.
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Turley, Ray, BSN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 6/19/2014
© 2000-2015 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.