Vaccines are an important step in protecting adults against
several serious and sometimes deadly diseases.
• The need for vaccinations does not end in childhood. Vaccines are
recommended throughout our lives based on age, lifestyle, occupation,
travel destinations, medical conditions, and vaccines received in the past.
• The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) updates
vaccine recommendations for adults each year based on the latest
research on vaccine safety, effectiveness, and patterns of vaccine-preventable
• ACIP’s vaccination recommendations also are reviewed and approved by
professional medical provider organizations, including the American
College of Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians, American
College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and American College of
Every year, tens of thousands of adults in the U.S. needlessly
suffer, are hospitalized, and even die from diseases that could
be prevented by vaccines.
• Each year, an average of 226,000 people are hospitalized due to influenza
and between 3,000 and 49,000 people die of influenza and its
complications, the majority of which are adults.
• About 900,000 people get pneumococcal pneumonia every year, leading
to as many as 400,000 hospitalizations and 19,000 deaths,
• 850,000 to 2.2 million people suffer from chronic hepatitis B, with
complications such as liver cancer.
• In the U.S., HPV causes about 17,000 cancers in women and about 9,000
cancers in men each year. About 4,000 women die each year from
• Of the approximately one million cases of shingles that occur annually, up
to 9% will involve the eye.
Vaccines are recommended for adults to prevent serious
diseases such as influenza (flu), shingles, pneumonia, hepatitis,
and whooping cough.
• Older adults and adults with certain chronic conditions are at increased
risk for serious complications from vaccine-preventable diseases.
• Many of these diseases are common in the U.S., and all adults – even
healthy adults – can benefit from vaccination.
• Some vaccines can help prevent cancer. Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent
liver cancer that can develop after developing chronic hepatitis B. The
HPV vaccine can prevent cancers caused by HPV infection, including
cervical, vaginal, vulvar and anal cancers.
• Vaccination is important because it not only protects the person being
vaccinated, but also helps prevent the spread of diseases to others –
especially those who are most vulnerable to serious complications, such
as young children, older people, and people with certain chronic
conditions or weakened immune systems.