The 6 Vaccines All Parents (and Grandparents) Need

Vaccinations aren't just for children -- all adults (parents or not) should get vaccinated to protect themselves and children from preventable diseases.
woman receiving a vaccine

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Kids aren't the only ones who need vaccinations. Every year, more than 600,000 adults die from vaccine-preventable illnesses. What's more, "When adults get vaccinated, it curbs the spread of disease to infants and children who are either too young to be immunized or not yet fully protected," says Anita Chandra-Puri, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and a pediatrician at Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group in Chicago. Here's a look at vaccines the CDC says all adults need.

MEASLES-MUMPS-RUBELLA (MMR) VACCINE

Why You Need It: Every year, nearly 200,000 people worldwide die from measles. In 2011, international travelers exposed 200 unvaccinated children and adults in the U.S. to the disease. All three viruses -- measles, mumps, and rubella (also called German measles) -- can cause miscarriages or birth defects.

Get It If:

  • You were born in 1957 or later and have never been immunized.
  • You're traveling overseas (booster shot).
  • You work in health care (booster shot).
  • You're a woman of childbearing age.
  • You're a college student, trade school student, or a student beyond high school.

Skip It If:

  • You're pregnant (because the vaccine contains weakened, but live, virus strains).
  • You're trying to conceive. (Use birth control for a month after getting the vaccine.)
  • You were born before 1957 and were exposed to the viruses (a blood test can confirm immunity).
  • You're allergic to gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin.
  • Your immune system is severely compromised due to HIV/AIDS or cancer.
  • You had blood tests that show you are immune to measles, mumps, and rubella.
  • You already had two doses of MMR or one dose of MMR plus a second dose of measles vaccine.
  • You already had one dose of MMR and are not at high risk of measles or mumps exposure.

Related Features:

The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule

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