Vaccines aren’t just for tots — and recommendations for who needs which shots, and when, change quickly. We asked the experts about the latest vaccine news.

Vaccines aren’t just for tots — and recommendations for who needs which shots, and when, change quickly. We asked the experts about the latest vaccine news.

For the grown-ups
• An annual flu shot, which now includes protection against H1N1, is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. Also, a high-dose version of the flu vaccine is available for people 65 and older. The reason: “The older you get, the less robust a response you have to the flu vaccine,” explains Dr. William
Schaffner, president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

• A resurgence of whooping cough among children has sparked the need for adults who are going to be in close contact with an infant who hasn’t completed at least three of her five Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTaP) vaccines to get a booster to protect against the disease, also known as pertussis.

• While it’s recommended for adolescents, the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine is licensed for use in females and males ages 9 to 26. If you are older than that and not in a longterm monogamous relationship, ask your physician if you should get it “off label.” “The older you get, the more likely it is that you have already been infected by the virus,” says Schaffner, who is also a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville. “And the chance that the vaccine will benefit you diminishes.”

• Everyone 65 and older needs a dose of the pneumococcal vaccine (PPSV) to protect against bacterial infections such as pneumococcal pneumonia, meningitis, sinusitis and bacteremia, a blood infection. But if you got the shot more than five years before your 65th birthday, you’ll need a second when you celebrate that milestone.

• This spring, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the shingles vaccine for people ages 50 to 59 — shaving 10 years off the previous age range for which it was approved.

For kids and teens
• It’s now OK for a child age 7 to 10 who hasn’t received all three of his primary DTaP doses to get a tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) booster to make sure he’s fully protected against these three diseases. These kids can skip the typical booster at age 11 or 12 and simply get a tetanus-diptheria (Td) shot every 10 years, as recommended for the general population.

• Every young woman up to age 26 needs this three-shot vaccine if she didn’t get it when she was an adolescent, say current recommendations. But a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that one HPV vaccine on the market may protect against genital warts in young men ages 16 to 26.

• Experts are now recommending a meningitis booster for teens ages 16 and 18, even if they were immunized at age 11 or 12. If your child only gets one shot at age 11 or 12, she won’t be protected when she heads off to college or enlists in the military.