Many adults may overlook recommended vaccinations until they are required for work or college. Although there are different recommended vaccinations for adults, there are personal factors that will influence which vaccinations you need and which ones are not recommended because their risks outweigh potential benefits.

Housing Situation and Employment

Your housing situation can affect the recommended vaccinations for adults. The most common housing situation that affects the situation is students living in on-campus dorms. Many colleges require students to be vaccinated against meningitis. If you live in a similar situation, such as a rooming house, mental health facility, or nursing home, you should ask your doctor about receiving the meningitis vaccine if they do not make the recommendation on their own. Vaccinations only protect against viral meningitis, not the bacterial variation. Since meningitis is not only a serious disease, but can have a significant risk of mortality and spread rapidly in communal living spaces, it is a critical vaccine to receive unless otherwise contraindicated.

Your employment may require specific vaccinations or there may be recommended vaccinations based on your employment. For example, maintaining your vaccination schedule for tetanus can be important for people in industrial, manufacturing, and construction professions since they may be exposed to tetanus frequently. People who work in the healthcare field often require strict vaccine schedules to protect themselves and their patients.


Being immunocompromised means your immune system is suppressed or does not work as intended, which can make you more vulnerable to illness and infection. There are many situations that can make you immunocompromised. The most widely recognized cause is HIV infection. The virus itself affects the immune system and if it is not treated or adequately treated, the infection can progress to AIDS, which means the affected person has little to no remaining immune cells to fight any type of infection.

Other reasons for being immunocompromised are congenital abnormalities affecting the immune system and medications that are designed to suppress the immune system to prevent rejection of transplanted organs or to manage autoimmune diseases. For these individuals, vaccinations to prevent chicken pox in those people who never had the disease and live flu vaccines are not recommended. Live flu vaccines are given as a nasal spray. Fortunately, flu vaccinations come in other variations that use an inactive (attenuated) virus, allowing immunocompromised people to be protected against the seasonal flu.

Chronic Disease And Lifestyle Factors

The most common chronic diseases that can affect which vaccines you need or may not be able to have are diseases that affect the liver, kidneys, heart, and lungs. Other issues are alcoholism and smoking. Generally, people with chronic diseases can have all available vaccines. However, providers are asked to be cautious when using the live flu vaccine and may use the alternative attenuated vaccine instead. Pneumonia vaccines are often recommended for people age 65 and over, but younger people with chronic diseases or smokers are recommended to be vaccinated against pneumonia, as well.

Although the recommended vaccinations for adults are generally based on age, certain situations may necessitate changes to the vaccines that are recommended for you. Since your primary care knows your history, they are the best resource for determining which work vaccinations you should have.