Nobody likes getting a shot, but there are important immunizations for every age group. Learn more and see the national recommendations here.

Nobody likes getting a shot, and with our busy lives, it’s easy to find a reason not to. The fact is, the things that keep us busy are the very reasons we need to be vaccinated, because it's not just you, but also the people around you – your family, friends and coworkers - that immunizations can protect.


Many people make getting a flu shot an annual habit, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, there are other immunizations you should get to protect yourself and prevent the possibility or spread of disease, says Dr. Doug Golding, Family Medicine Physician at Lifetime Health Medical Group. Some childhood vaccinations wear off, and new ones have been developed to protect you against different diseases. Vaccines can protect adults against tetanus and diphtheria, shingles, pneumonia and pertussis (whooping cough). You can find a list of recommended vaccinations for adults on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.


Women who are considering becoming pregnantshould be up to date on their vaccines, notes Dr. Golding, and should be immunized against flu and whooping cough during pregnancy. This can protect against illness and complications, and will pass on some protection to the baby. 


Before adulthood, preteens and teens should be vaccinated to reduce the risk of meningitis and human papilloma virus (HPV). (See a list of vaccinations recommended for this age group.) In the case of HPV, the vaccine can reduce the likelihood of developing certain cancers caused by HPV infection. (This article discusses the significance of the HPV vaccination.)


Immunization is especially important for older adults and for adults with chronic conditionssuch as asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), diabetes or heart disease. 


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes, “Vaccines undergo rigorous and extensive testing to determine their safety and effectiveness.” And, a report by the Institute of Medicine found negative side effects from vaccines are extremely rare and those that do occur are easily treated.


If you have questions and concerns about vaccinations, Dr. Golding advises you to talk to your doctor about them, and learn what he or she recommends based on your age, medical history, lifestyle, occupation, and travel plans.