Getting the Right Vaccines at Every Stage of Life

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

From birth to adulthood, vaccines (shots) can help keep us healthy at every stage of life. Vaccines protect us from many dangerous diseases that once caused death and serious harm to people of all ages. To protect you and your family, learn more about the vaccines you need at every age. Make sure both you and your kids get vaccinated on time.

Babies and Children

Give your baby a healthy start by making sure they get all the recommended vaccines. Without vaccines, your baby or young child is at risk for diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough, and flu, which can cause disability or even death.

Children need 10 routine vaccinations. These vaccines and the diseases they protect against are:

1. DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis)
2. MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella)
3. HepA (hepatitis A)
4. HepB (hepatitis B)
5. Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b)
6. PCV13 (pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia)
7. Polio
8. RV (rotavirus)
9. Varicella (chickenpox)
10. Flu: Not just for babies and kids. Everyone 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine every year.

Talk to your child’s primary care provider (PCP) about the vaccines they need. 

Preteens and Teens

Some vaccines work better when given during pre-teen and teen years. During the preteen years, protection from certain childhood vaccines begin to wear off. Getting booster shots, or extra doses of vaccines, can help increase protection. If your child is age 11 or older, ask your child’s doctor about theses shots:

• HPV (Human papillomavirus):  protects preteens from cancers caused by HPV, a very common virus
• MenACWY and MenB:  prevents meningitis
• Tdap: a booster shot for tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough
• Flu: should be given every year, no matter your child’s age

Keep your teen healthy into adulthood. Make sure they’re up-to-date on all their shots. 

Vaccination Beyond Childhood

Vaccination isn’t just for kids. All adults need vaccines to prevent serious illnesses that could lead to poor health, missed work, medical bills, and not being able to care for family. 

What vaccines do healthy adults need?

• Flu: All adults need a flu vaccine every year. This vaccine is very important for people with chronic conditions, pregnant women, and older adults.
• Tdap: Every adult should get the Tdap vaccine once if they didn’t get it as a child, and then a Td booster shot (tetanus and diphtheria only) every 10 years.
• HPV: The HPV vaccine is recommended for men and women up to age 26 if they didn’t get vaccinated when they were younger. For the best protection, the vaccine should be given at ages 11 or 12.

Adults Ages 50 and Older

As we get older, our immune systems tend to weaken over time, putting us at higher risk for certain diseases. So, in addition to flu and Tdap vaccines, adults between 50 years and older may also need:

• Shingles vaccine
• Pneumococcal vaccines (PCV13 and PPSV23)

You may need other vaccines based on your age, health conditions, job, lifestyle, or travel habits. Talk to your doctor about which ones are right for you.

Put These Tools to Work

Not sure what vaccines you need or where to go to get one? Worried about keeping track of all the different vaccines you and your family need? Try these free online tools and mobile apps:

• Wisconsin Immunization Registry. Look up your child’s record and learn more about vaccines at www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/immunization/wir.
• CDC’s vaccine website just for parents. Find vaccine information by child’s age, easy-to-read schedules, vaccine risks and benefits, and much more at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents.
• Text4baby. Are you a mom-to-be? This free mobile app will help you keep track of your vaccine schedule and appointments for you and your baby. 
• CDC’s adult vaccine quiz. Take this short quiz to find out which vaccines you need. Go to www2.cdc.gov/nip/adultimmsched.
• Vaccine Finder. Find local pharmacies and health clinics where you can get adult vaccines at www.vaccinefinder.org.
• Flu vaccine and American Indians. Did you know the flu poses a high risk to American Indians? Learn more at bit.ly/CDCAIfluvax.