Adult Vaccines

Immunization is not just for kids. The vaccines you need may depend on your age, health condition, occupation, travel habits, environment, and lifestyle. Sometimes a booster is needed to stay protected. Not all vaccines are “publicly funded”, meaning it is covered if you have an Ontario Health Card. Talk to your healthcare provider. Doses may vary depending on the vaccine and your medical history.

Young Adult

For young adults up to 27 years of age, consider the following:

  • Ensure two doses of MMR were received as a child, and if not, gets two doses as an adult
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine, one dose as an adult, then
  • Diphtheria and tetanus every 10 years
  • Human papillomavirus vaccine, check with your doctor to see if you are eligible for the free three-dose series
  • Influenza vaccine every year (ideally in November / December)
  • See Occupation, Lifestyle and Travel for more vaccines

Planning a Pregnancy

Hepatitis B vaccine

  • Prevents transmission of infection to the baby
  • Chronic carriers can speak with their doctor on how to prevent transmission to their babies
  • If you grew up in Ontario, you may have received the vaccine series in Grade 7/8 (check your immunization card)

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

  • Prevents infection and reduces incidence of cervical abnormalities, cancer and genital warts
  • Prevents transmission of HPV warts and respiratory papillomatosis to babies

MMR – measles, mumps, rubella (live vaccine*)

  • Protects against congenital rubella syndrome
  • Infection in early pregnancy can cause miscarriage
  • Two doses are needed for full protection

Varicella – chickenpox (live vaccine*)

  • Not needed if have had chickenpox infection or vaccination before pregnancy
  • Infection in early pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects
  • Infection can also cause serious complications for the pregnant woman, such as pneumonia

*As a general rule, live vaccines should not be given during pregnancy. Women should not try for pregnancy for four weeks after receiving a live vaccine.

During Pregnancy

Influenza vaccine (TIV)

  • Protects the mother and baby from flu-related complications during flu season (from October to April)
  • Vaccinating the family will protect newborns
  • Infants under six months of age are too young to get the vaccine

Tdap – tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine

  • Vaccination in each pregnancy, preferably at 27 to 32 weeks to protect babies under six months, when they are at highest risk of getting pertussis
  • Vaccinating the family will also protect babies from pertussis infection
  • Up-to-date tetanus will protect against neonatal tetanus

Pregnant women at higher risk of infections due to occupation or travel should consider additional vaccines such as hepatitis A, polio.

*As a general rule, live vaccines should not be given during pregnancy.

50 Years +

For adults 50 years and over:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis vaccine (only if you did not already receive a dose as an adult), then
  • Diphtheria, tetanus boosters every 10 years
  • Influenza every year (November / December)
  • Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is not publicly funded for this age group
  • Hepatitis A & B for individuals at risk of exposure (especially before travel), not publicly funded

65 Years +

For adults 65 years and over; and persons with specific medical conditions:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis vaccine (only if you did not already receive a dose as an adult), then
  • Diphtheria, tetanus boosters every 10 years
  • Influenza every year (November / December)
  • Hepatitis A & B for individuals at risk of exposure (especially before travel), not publicly funded
  • Pneumococcal Conjugate-13, ideally given first, then followed by Pneu-P-23 eight weeks later
  • Pneumococcal Vaccine (Pneu-P-23)
  • Shingles vaccine (Zostavax®) is publicly funded for adults 65 to 70 years old.


For healthcare providers; child care providers and military personnel, consider the following:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine – one dose in adulthood, then
  • Diphtheria and tetanus vaccine booster every 10 years
  • Hepatitis A / B combination vaccine (two to three dose series), not publicly funded
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella combination vaccine (two doses)
  • Varicella (chickenpox) – two doses; or proof of immunity via history of chickenpox or blood test
  • Meningococcal Quadrivalent Conjugate vaccine, may not be publicly funded
  • Influenza vaccine every year (ideally in November / December)

Medical / Lifestyle

For persons with chronic medical conditions or weakened immune systems, talk with your healthcare provider. Vaccines needed may depend on your health history and age:

  • Haemophilus influenzae B vaccine
  • Hepatitis A and B vaccine
  • Influenza vaccine every year, ideally November / December
  • Meningococcal vaccine
  • Pneumococcal vaccine, two types: Pneu-P-23 and Pneu-C-13
  • Human papillomavirus vaccine is publicly funded for MSM, up to 26 years old. Talk to your doctor.


For travellers, please visit a travel health clinic at least 4 weeks before your travel date. Vaccines needed depends on the purpose of travel, length of travel and destinations. Most vaccines required for travel are not publicly funded.

  • Hepatitis A and B vaccine
  • Meningococcal Quadrivalent Conjugate vaccine (to sub-Saharan African and to Hajj in Saudi Arabia)
  • Cholera (to endemic areas)
  • Traveller’s diarrhea (especially if you have a chronic illness or weakened immune system)
  • Japanese Encephalitis vaccine  (to endemic areas during transmission season)
  • Polio vaccine (to areas where poliovirus is known)
  • Rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis (to high-risk areas)
  • Yellow Fever vaccine