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Immunizations - Adult

In a recent review of the importance of adult immunization, Schaffner, Rehm, and File wrote: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend vaccinations from birth through adulthood for lifetime protection against many diseases and infections. Healthy, active adults need to be vaccinated for personal protection against infection as well as associated health benefits. . . . Immunization also reduces the risk of an individual transmitting infection to others, thereby conferring protection to his or her entire community.”

Immunization schedules in the United States are compiled by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The role of the ACIP is to provide advice that will lead to a reduction in the incidence of vaccine preventable diseases in the United States and an increase in the safe use of vaccines and related biological products. The Committee develops written recommendations for the routine administration of vaccines to children and adults in the civilian population.

The scourge of infectious disease and its toll on peoples’ lives is sometimes forgotten, a measure of the success of vaccination. Vaccines represent biomedicine at its most effective and compassionate, since they have saved hundreds of thousands of lives and prevented great suffering.

Internet Resources

MedlinePlus: Immunization
Developed by the National Library of Medicine specifically for consumers, MedlinePlus provides a portal to both government-sponsored and privately developed health information for the lay public.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC is the primary public-health agency of the U.S. government. Its scientists are respected throughout the world for their decades-long history of protecting the health of all people. Includes link to recommended immunization schedule for adults .

National Network for Immunization Information
This Web site compiles scientific studies relevant to all aspects of immunization science.

Johns Hopkins Institute for Vaccine Safety
The Institute’s mission is to provide an independent assessment of vaccines and vaccine safety, with the goal of preventing disease by using the safest possible vaccines.

Immunization Action Coalition
One of the many strengths of this site is access to weekly e-newsletters that will keep subscribers current with the latest news in immunization science.

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System
Redundant systems are in place at all levels, from local communities to international agencies, for reporting significant adverse events that may be associated with a vaccine.

Illinois Immunization Program
For information specific to Illinois, look here.

Journal Articles

  • Schaffner W, Rehm SJ, File TM Jr. “Keeping our adult patients healthy and active: the role of vaccines across the lifespan.” Physician & Sportsmedicine. 38(4):35–47. December 2010.
  • “Keeping up with your vaccinations.” Harvard Women’s Health Watch. 18(8):2–3. April 2011.
  • “Understanding vaccines: how immunizations help fight disease.” Mayo Clinic Women’s Healthsource. 10(12):1–2. December 2006.


“Vaccination.” Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 4th ed. 2011. Available in print at the Health Learning Center or online at http://www.nmh.org/nm/online-health-resources.

Search our collection for more resources concerning vaccination and immunization.

Contact Us

For more information, or for a copy of any of the resources listed here, please contact the Health Learning Center at 312.926.5465 orHLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateMarch 12, 2012