Immunizations Keep Adults Healthy Too!



And they're especially important during the pandemic.

A message from Dr. Helena Swinkels, Office of the Chief Medical Officer and Marion Guenther, Clinical Nurse ​Specialist for Immunizations, CDPPH office of the Chief Nursing Officer 

Immunizations are important for keeping you healthy throughout your life, including as an adult. Some vaccines are recommended for all adults, and others are recommended for specific adults. Adults also need booster doses of certain vaccines to ensure ongoing protection from disease. 

In this message, you will find answers about why adults need immunizations and which ones, as well as how get and keep your immunizations up to date. 

Why do adults need immunizations? 

1. As you get older, your risk increases for certain vaccine-preventable diseases such as shingles and pneumococcal pneumonia. Also, protection from certain vaccines you received as a child can wear off, such as tetanus and pertussis, so booster doses become necessary. 

2. You may be at risk for new or different diseases depending on your health, job, or life situation. For example, people over the age of 65, or with certain chronic conditions or life circumstances, should get the pneumococcal vaccine. 

3. Reducing your chances of illnesses such as the seasonal flu or pneumonia in turn reduces your risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Also, as the symptoms of seasonal flu and COVID-19 are very similar, getting the flu vaccine will reduce the chance that you will need to be tested and possibly quarantined for COVID-19. 

4. Getting immunized helps protect others in your community – especially those who can't be immunized, such as infants and people with medical conditions. When you get immunized, you greatly reduce the risk of getting and spreading infections. 

Which vaccines do adults need? 

 Get a tetanus and diphtheria (Td) booster every 10 years.

 Get the influen​za vaccine every year.

 Make sure you're up to date with pertussis (whooping cough) and influenza vaccines if you're pregnant.

 Get the shingles vaccine if you're over 50.

 Get the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine if you're over 65.

 Talk to your doctor or nurse about which vaccines are recommended if you have a health condition / have questions about protecting against some sexually transmitted infections / are new to BC. 

International travel is still not recommended, but when it becomes safe to travel again, be sure to check this page for recommended travel immunizations. 

When a COVID-19 vaccine is available, we will provide you with comprehensive information about it. Lots of work is happening to make sure that it will be safe and effective, and that people who are at highest risk for getting or getting very sick from COVID-19 are able to get the vaccine first. 

How can you ensure your immunizations are up to date? 

If you're not sure what immunizations you've had, you can ask your health care provider or find tips on locating immunization records here. They can also help you understand which vaccines are available at no cost to you. 

Keeping a current immunization record is important. Your records may be required for certain jobs, travel or school registration. Once you have your and your family's immunization records up to date, keep them in a safe place with other medical information.​ 

A free mobile app available at can help you keep track of your immunizations.

Learn more here:

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