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Vaccinations Every Senior Needs

As a senior, it’s even more important to receive scheduled immunizations to protect yourself against illness. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends these vaccinations for everyone over age 65:

Flu shot - get one every year. There are different flu vaccines available, talk to your primary care physician about which one is right for you.

Shingles (zoster) - one shot is recommended upon turning 60.

Pneumonia – The CDC has long recommended a pneumonia vaccine called PPSV23 (Pneumovax). Now they also recommended PCV13 (Prevnar 13), for extra protection. Both vaccines help to prevent pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pneumonia (pneumococcus) bacteria. This bacteria also can cause bloodstream infections and meningitis.

MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) - one or two doses.

Td/Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis- get a booster every 10 years.

Chickenpox (varicella) - if you’ve never been vaccinated, then ask your primary care physician if you should receive this two-dose shot.

Some seniors also require other vaccinations. You may need these vaccinations if your job, health history or lifestyle puts you at higher risk for these illnesses. Talk to your primary care doctor to see if they are for you:

Meningitis (meningococcal) - a series of one or more shots

Hepatitis A - a series of two shots

Hepatitis B - a series of three shots

If you are traveling outside of the United States, you may need additional vaccines. Talk to your doctor. To learn more about vaccinations for seniors, visit the Centers for Disease Control online at