Immunizations Are a Big Part of Staying Healthy

Immunizations Are a Big Part of Staying Healthy

Are you and your family up to date on your routine vaccines? They're an important part of staying safe and healthy for people of all ages.

Who Needs Vaccines?

Vaccines aren’t just for babies or young children. We all need vaccines throughout our lives to help protect against serious diseases, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Different vaccines are recommended for children, teens and adults. The right vaccines at the right time can help keep people of all ages healthy. What vaccines you need depends on factors like age, health problems, jobs and travel. Some examples:

  • Children and young adults should get the HPV vaccine, which protects against some cancers.
  • Healthy adults age 50 and older need the shingles vaccine. It also protects against complications from the disease.
  • The pneumonia vaccine is recommended for older adults and all adults who have a health issue that makes their immune system weak.
  • Most people who are six months old or older should get a yearly flu shot.
  • The RSV vaccine is recommended for older adults.

Immunizations are a vital step to protect people at risk, such as the very young, the very old, and people with weak immune systems or serious illnesses. Some people who are at risk can’t get immunizations. When people who can get vaccinated do, everyone is better protected.

Learn about adult diseases   that vaccines can help prevent.

Germs Are World Travelers

Vaccine-preventable diseases are still around, even the ones that aren’t currently common in the U.S. And they can be spread to people who haven’t been vaccinated. Measles is one example. It is still common in other countries. So a traveler who hasn’t had the vaccine can get it and bring it back to the U.S. with them, where it may spread to others.

Are Vaccines Safe?

Before a vaccine is approved for use in the U.S., it goes through testing to make sure it is safe and works well. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluates the results of clinical studies. Safety is closely watched during use. Like other medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. They are mostly mild.

What Vaccines Do Adults Need?

Check out our Wellness Guidelines to see the recommended vaccinations for adults. The guidelines are available in English and Spanish in a PDF format for easy downloading or printing.

Get the latest Adult Wellness Guidelines:

Children’s and Perinatal Wellness Guidelines are also available. You can see all the latest guidelines any time by logging in to Blue Access for MembersSM. Click My Health in the top navigation menu, then select Wellness. On the Wellness page, click Wellness Guidelines.

Adults with chronic health problems like asthma, COPD, heart disease and diabetes are more likely to get complications from certain diseases. If you have chronic health issues, make sure you know what vaccines you need.

Don’t Let Children Fall Behind

From babyhood to preschool and beyond, keeping your child healthy means following a vaccine schedule. It’s designed to protect against serious diseases, like polio, whooping cough and mumps. Those diseases can result in a hospital stay, or even death.

It’s important to make sure your child is fully vaccinated against these vaccine-preventable diseases. That means finishing the whole series of recommended vaccines at the right time. Studies have shown   they are safe. But veering from the vaccine schedule is not.

Don’t put off vaccinations for yourself or your child. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

Don't Let the Flu Sneak Up on You

While it isn't officially flu "season" yet, you can get the flu any time of the year. the number of cases of flu usually start rising in October or earlier, and it takes a couple of weeks for the vaccine to be effective. Find out why you should get a flu shot as soon as it's available to protect you year-round.

Sources: Vaccine-Preventable Adult Diseases, leaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2022; 5 Reasons It Is Important for Adults to Get Vaccinated, leaving site icon CDC, 2022; Autism and Vaccines, leaving site icon CDC, 2024; Prevent Seasonal Flu, leaving site icon CDC, 2024; Frequently Asked Questions About RSV Vaccine for Adults, leaving site icon CDC, 2024

Originally published 7/1/2020; Revised 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024