The Travel Health and Vaccine Specialists

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Disease Directory

Routine Vaccines

What are “routine vaccines”?
Routine vaccines are those that are recommended for everyone in the United States, depending on age and your vaccine history. Most people think of these as childhood vaccines that you get before starting school, but some vaccines are routinely recommended for adults, and some are recommended every year (a flu vaccine) or every 10 years (a tetanus booster).

Routine childhood vaccines include Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, DTaP, Hib, Pneumococcal, Polio, Flu, MMR, Chickenpox, Hepatitis A, Meningococcal and HPV.

Adult routine vaccines include Flu, Td/Tdap, HPV, Shingles, Pneumococcal, Meningococcal, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.

Why are routine vaccines important for travelers
Because of good vaccine coverage of children in the United States, some of the diseases prevented by routine vaccines rarely occur here. However, these diseases can be much more common in other countries, even in areas where you wouldn’t normally worry about travel-related illnesses. For example, in 2011, there was a large outbreak of measles in Europe, and many unvaccinated American travelers were infected. Some even brought it back home and spread it to other unvaccinated people in their communities. Being up-to-date on your routine vaccines will give you the best protection against these illnesses.

What routine vaccines do I need?
What vaccines you need depends on your age, health, and what vaccines you have already had. For most adults who received all their recommended vaccines as children, only a yearly flu vaccine and a tetanus booster every 10 years are needed. However, you should talk to your doctor about what’s best for you. If you did not receive all your vaccines as a child—or if you can’t remember—your doctor may recommend giving them again, just to be safe. For older adults, vaccination against pneumococcal disease or shingles might be advised.