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Required Vaccines: What You Need to Know


When you think of vaccines, you often think about the ones you get as a child and don't have to bother with again. But did you know there are also a number of required vaccines for adults? We've put together a blog outlining everything you need to know about required vaccines for all ages.

Reviewed by the Office of Clinical Evaluation and Policy (OCEP), Evernorth

You may think of required vaccines as something that kids get. But adults need them, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccines to protect you from certain infections that can be serious and life-threatening.

You might not experience symptoms from some infections, but that doesn’t mean you can’t transmit the infection to someone else. Infections like the flu could be deadly to someone in your family or community who is frail due to age or illness. When you get a vaccine, you’re not just protecting yourself; you’re also protecting people around you.

What are vaccines?

Vaccines are biological substances that stimulate a reaction by the body’s immune system. They usually contain a weakened version or small part of a virus or bacteria. Vaccines don’t carry a potent version of the bacteria or virus not to cause an actual infection.

Once the body recognizes the virus or bacteria, the immune system builds up its defenses and targets it. When the immune system comes into contact with that particular virus or bacteria again, the body will be protected.

The significance of vaccination has been widely studied and verified. The World Health Organization reports that licensed required vaccines are currently the most effective method of disease prevention available and that immunization already protects millions of people worldwide.

What are the Required Vaccines for different ages?

Vaccines are usually recommended at different stages of life. Most people will start getting protected as babies up until they’re teenagers and adults, and the vaccines may be given in multiple doses over a specific period. The extra doses are usually known as booster shots, which will help boost the vaccine's protection.

Healthcare providers recommend completing the entire course of vaccination to get full protection. If you skip vaccines, you may be putting yourself and others at risk of getting a severe disease.

Below is a list of vaccinations by age. This list serves as an example and is not a comprehensive list of vaccinations. You should consult with a healthcare provider before getting vaccinated or taking your child to get vaccinated. Certain exceptions may apply.

Vaccination from birth to 15 months

  • Hepatitis B: 3 doses
  • Rotavirus: 2 doses
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis: 4 doses
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b: 4 doses
  • Pneumococcal conjugate: 4 doses
  • Inactivated poliovirus: 3 doses
  • Influenza: 1 or 2 doses annually
  • Measles, mumps, rubella: 1 dose
  • Varicella: 1 dose
  • Hepatitis A: 2 doses

Vaccination for Children 18 Months to 18 Years

  • Hepatitis B: 1 dose
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis: 2 doses
  • Inactivated poliovirus: 2 doses
  • Influenza: 1 or 2 doses annually
  • Measles, mumps, rubella: 1 dose
  • Varicella: 1 dose
  • Meningococcal: 2 doses

Vaccination for Adults 18 to 50 Years

  • Influenza inactivated or influenza recombinant: 1 dose annually
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis: 1 dose Tdap, then Td or Tdap booster every ten years
  • Measles, mumps, rubella: 1 or 2 doses depending on the indication
  • Varicella: 2 doses
  • Zoster recombinant: 2 doses
  • Human papillomavirus: 2 or 3 doses depending on the age of initial vaccination or condition
  • Pneumococcal: 1 to 2 doses
  • Hepatitis A: 2 or 3 doses depending on the vaccine
  • Hepatitis B: 2, 3, or 4 doses depending on vaccine or condition
  • Meningococcal A, C, W, Y: 1 or 2 doses depending on indication
  • Meningococcal B: 2 or 3 doses depending on vaccine and indication
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b: 1 or 3 doses depending on the indication

Take Away

Vaccinations are a crucial part of disease prevention, and the process is becoming simpler to navigate. You can now easily make appointments and get the required vaccines from your local pharmacy or doctor’s clinic. However, don’t be intimidated by the number of vaccines available. By reviewing your options with your healthcare provider annually, you can ensure that you and your children are protected.

In most cases, vaccines are free with health insurance. However, if you don’t have health insurance, you can still get vaccinated for free or at a discount with other options.

In the event that you do get sick, regardless of vaccinations, Inside Rx helps people across the U.S. get their prescription medications at a discount. The Inside Rx discount card is free to use and can be downloaded instantly. Search your medication to find available prices at your local pharmacies. Then, show your card at the pharmacy to save up to 80% off brand and generic prescription medications.

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