Vaccines are a simple and safe way to keep illness at bay. Any effects from getting a vaccine, such as a mild fever or a sore arm, are temporary and minor.

Ask your doctor about these recommended vaccines and other immunizations you may need:

Flu shot

The flu, or influenza, sends millions of Americans to the hospital each year and causes thousands of deaths. Older adults, especially those with chronic health conditions, are at high risk.

What can you do?

  • Get a flu shot every September, before flu season starts, or in October.
  • Protect yourself in other ways, too: Avoid people who are sick, keep your hands away from your face, and wash your hands well and often with soap and water.

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine

This vaccine protects against pneumococcal disease, which is a big cause of pneumonia deaths in adults. It’s recommended for all adults ages 65 and older.

You may also need it if you have:

  • Lung conditions, like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Alcoholism