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As children grow up, pediatricians routinely remind their parents when vaccinations are due. But there are few regular notices that nudge adults into getting vaccinations — except for annual flu shots and, more recently, public discussions about coronavirus vaccinations and boosters.
Yet, vaccines aren’t just for kids. Adults and older adolescents need them, too. There are numerous recommended vaccines, including for shingles, pneumonia, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, and others targeted to specific age or risk groups, such as hepatitis B, meningitis and human papillomavirus.
Every year, thousands of adults get sick from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccination, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some are hospitalized, and even die. One recent study of four vaccine preventable diseases in people 50 and older — flu, pertussis, shingles and pneumonia — estimated that current vaccination coverage prevents 65 million cases of illness in 30 years, and additional vaccinations could avert another 33 million.