Immunization is not just for kids

Text: Public Health Agency of Canada

Vaccination provides the longest lasting, most effective protection against disease. But childhood immunization does not provide lifelong immunity against some diseases such as tetanus (lockjaw) and diphtheria.

 Adults require helper, or booster, shots to maintain immunity. As well, adults who were not adequately immunized as children may be at risk of infection from other vaccine-preventable diseases. They can also infect others. For example, adults who contract measles, mumps or pertussis (whooping cough) can infect infants who may not yet be fully immunized.

Seasonal Immunization
Some immunizations are required seasonally. Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a highly contagious infection of the airways caused by the influenza virus. New strains of influenza circulate every year, requiring immunization every autumn.
 Some people think that the flu is a mild illness, but it can be a very serious for people over 65, infants and children or adults with underlying chronic conditions who can develop more serious complications. People who don’t get immunized are at risk of infection from the influenza virus  - and they can also infect others. Seasonal flu shots the most effective way to protect yourself and others from one of Canada’s most common diseases – influenza. 

Travel Immunization
If you travel outside the country you may need other immunizations. Diseases rarely found in Canada are common in other parts of the world and immunizations offer the most effective protection.  
Talk to your health care provider to make sure your immunization is up to date, and if you are traveling, ask whether special immunizations are needed for the countries you are traveling to.
Keep a record of your immunizations!

For more information go to:
Public Health Agency of Canada Travel Health.
Public Health Agency of Canada Canadian Immunization Guide, Evergreen edition.
As we get older, our immune system can get weaker, putting us at a greater risk for certain diseases, including influenza. The flu is more likely to cause severe illness and even death in older adults. Other vaccine-preventable diseases such as herpes zoster (shingles) and pneumococcal disease are more common with age. It is also important to make sure routine vaccines are up to date for diseases such as:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis
Recommended vaccines for all healthy adults:
Diphtheria and tetanus, every 10 years
Herpes Zoster (shingles), 1 dose at 60+ years (may be given between 50 and 59 years)
Influenza (flu), every year
Pertussis (whooping cough), 1 dose as an adult
Pneumococcal, 1 dose at 65+ years
For more information go to