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Immunizations > Adult Immunizations

Adult Immunizations   

Some adults (18 years and older) incorrectly assume that the vaccines they received as children will protect them for the rest of their lives.  Generally this is true, except that:

  • Some adults were never vaccinated as children
  • Newer vaccines were not available when some adults were children
  • Immunity can begin to fade over time
  • As we age, we become more susceptible to serious disease caused by common infections (e.g., flu, pneumococcus)

Adult Vaccination Schedules and Information

What vaccines do adults need?

What are the recommended vaccines for Adults?

Pregnancy and Pertussis

Printable publications recommending vaccinations for pregnant women



Pertussis Information:


Vaccine Preventable Diseases for Adults:

Td/TdapA combination vaccine containing Tetanus, diphtheria (Td) and acellular pertussis (Tdap).  Tdap replaces the Td booster dose, one time only. (Adults should replace one booster dose with Tdap, containing acellular pertusis, all other boosters should contain Td only.)

Tetanus (lockjaw) -  A disease of the nervous system caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria causing lockjaw, stiffness in the neck and abdomen, and difficulty swallowing which may progress into severe muscle spasms, generalized tonic seizure-like activity and  severe autonomic nervous system disorders. Everyone needs protection against Tetanus. If you have not had a booster shot in 10 years or more -- or never had the initial 3-shot series -- you should be vaccinated.


Diphtheria - is a potentially fatal, contagious disease that usually involves the nose, throat, and air passages, but may also infect the skin. Its most striking feature is the formation of a grayish membrane covering the tonsils and upper part of the throat. Everyone needs protection from diphtheria. If you have not had a booster shot in 10 years or more -- or never had the initial 3-shot series -- you should be vaccinated.



Pertussis - Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a serious infection that causes coughing spells so severe that it can be hard to breathe. Adults and adolescents (parents, grandparents and older siblings) typically have a milder form of pertussis; however, they can easily spread the infection to infants and young children, who are at greatest risk of serious complications including death. Only one adult booster dose is needed to provide protection from pertussis.


Influenza (flu) - The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is by getting a seasonal flu vaccination each year.



Pneumococcus - Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). There are different types of pneumococcal disease, such as pneumococcal pneumonia, bacteremia, meningitis, and otitis media. Pneumococcus is in many people's noses and throats and is spread by coughing, sneezing, or contact with respiratory secretions.  Pneumococcal disease can be fatal. In some cases, it can result in long-term problems, like brain damage, hearing loss, and limb loss.


Varicella - Chickenpox is caused by the highly contagious varicella zoster virus and results in a skin rash of blister-like lesions, covering the body but usually more concentrated on the face, scalp, and trunk. Most, but not all, infected individuals have fever, which develops just before or when the rash appears. Adults are at greater risk for severe complications from chickenpox than children.



Herpes Zoster (shingles) - Shingles is a painful localized skin rash often with blisters that is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox.  A shingles infection can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation (encephalitis) or death. Anyone who has had chickenpox can develop shingles.  However, shingles is more common in people 50 years old or older, people who have medical conditions that keep the immune system from working properly, or people who receive immunosuppressive drugs.


MMR - The MMR vaccine is a "three-in-one" vaccine that protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

Measles - is a highly infectious respiratory disease that can result in severe, sometimes permanent, complications including pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death.



Mumps - is caused by the mumps virus, which lives and reproduces in the upper respiratory tract. Mumps can lead to serious complications such as deafness, meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord covering), painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and, rarely, death.



Rubella - also known as German measles, is a viral disease spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. The main concern with rubella is infection in pregnant women. There is at least a 20 percent chance of damage to the fetus if a woman is infected with rubella early in pregnancy.



Hepatitis B - Hepatitis B is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It can often be a “silent disease” that affects people without making them feel sick. Chronic hepatitis B disease can result in long-term health problems, and even death.



Human Paillomavirus - Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of more than 100 viruses that are usually spread through sexual contact. The most serious long-term complication of HPV infection is cervical cancer.




Hepatitis A - Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The infection is most often spread by the fecal-oral route. It can also be spread by close person-to-person contact such as household or sexual contact with an infected person. The virus is also spread by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Hepatitis A is the most common vaccine-preventable disease acquired during travel.



Public Service Announcements

Adult Immunizations
(2 min.) Public Service Announcement (PSA)
Adult Immunizations
(17 min.) Public Service Announcement (PSA)
Pharmacists Role In Promoting And Administering Immunizations In Pennsylvania


The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enacted Act 102 on June 29, 2002, amended P.L. 673, No. 102, Section 9.2, known as the “Pharmacy Act”, which expanded the scope of duties that can be performed by pharmacists.  Specifically, a pharmacist who is granted authority may administer immunizations to persons who are more than 18 years of age.  This amendment was codified in to agency regulations and set forth at 49 Pa Code § 27.401-7, and were approved on July 1, 2006. 


Click here to identify Pharmacists that administer immunizations


Click here to view the Adult Recommended Immunization Schedule


As the flu season approaches, you may be thinking about getting a flu shot. Today, there are plenty of places you can go to get it and other vaccines: the supermarket, your workplace and increasingly, the pharmacy.  And it's not necessarily a nurse or doctor who will give you your vaccine — it could be the pharmacist.


Immunizations are an essential component of preventive health care.  Through Healthy People 2020, national vaccination goals have been set to increase immunization rates and decrease the incidence of vaccine-preventable disease.   Despite the availability of effective vaccines and Medicare coverage and commercial insurance coverage for influenza and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines, and all other recommended immunizations for adults and older adults, the prevalence of vaccine-preventable disease remains alarmingly high. One approach to improving access to immunizations is to increase the number of sites where patients can be immunized. Immunizations have always been offered at traditional sites like physician offices, hospitals, or public health clinics. However, in recent years there has been an increasing emphasis on involving nontraditional sites like pharmacies to increase immunization rates.