You’re never too old to get vaccines. The flu, whooping cough, hepatitis and pneumonia are just a few preventable diseases that affect the 65 and older crowd. Crystal D. LaGalle, DO, an internal medicine doctor with Meritas Health North Kansas City, shares information about on which immunizations you need, why they’re important and how to go about getting them.

Vaccine-preventable Diseases

More than 50,000 adults die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases.  What vaccines do adults need?

Flu. Every adult should get the flu vaccine for the respiratory flu. It helps prevent headaches, body aches, high fever and cough, which can lead to other respiratory issues and often hospitalization. Flu season starts in November, so try to get the vaccine about two weeks before the season starts so the antibodies have time to become active in your body.

Pneumonia. The pneumonia vaccine is for people 60 years of age or older and for people in an immunocompromised state. It’s a series of vaccines that helps prevent multiple strains of the pneumonia.

Shingles. The shingles vaccine is also for people 60 years of age or older. If you had chickenpox as a child, it can come back as shingles, which can be very painful. It’s a one-time vaccination that helps prevent the pain and occurrence of shingles.

Tdap. The Tdap vaccine helps prevent against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, or whooping cough. These are life-threatening diseases. This is a vaccine adults should get that every 10 years. Additionally, anyone who spends time with children needs the pertussis vaccine.

Side Effects

The main side effects from vaccinations are pain at the site of the shot, headache and fatigue. Those symptoms go away quickly.

Next Steps

If you’re not sure if you’re vaccinations are up-to-date, your doctor can review your medical history and help you devise a vaccination plan.

If you’re looking for the primary care doctor that’s right for you, visit or call 816.221.HEAL (4325).