The vaccines you may need after 65
Although the flu season generally begins in October, it’s still not too late to get your annual flu shot. Most years, flu activity peaks between December and February, but activity can last as late as May and the virus can circulate year-round. If you have a doctor’s appointment lined up or are stopping by your local clinic for your annual shot, the AARP recommends checking to see if you’re also up to date on other vaccines you should be receiving as an adult over 65.
According to the AARP, vaccines you may potentially need if you’re older than 65 include:
- Pneumococcal vaccine (pneumonia). Young children and people over 65 are at increased risk of pneumonia, which kills more people in the US than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined.
- Tdap vaccine or Td booster. This vaccine, which prevents tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) is especially important for people who have close contact with infants younger than 12 months of age. If you’re a grandparent, be sure to check that you’re up to date!
- Shingles vaccine. Shingles affects one in three people, usually after the age of 50 – and by 85, half of adults will have at least one outbreak.
- Hepatitis A. If you’ve recently traveled to another country where Hepatitis A transmission is common, you may need this vaccine. Hepatitis A may have no symptoms, especially in older people.
- Hepatitis B. If you’ve recently traveled to a country where Hepatitis B is common, or if you’ve potentially been exposed to the bodily fluids of an infected person (such as through needles, razors or toothbrushes), you may need this vaccine.
Learn more about the vaccines listed above on the AARP health blog.