Friday, August 7, 2009

Immunizations: Not just for kids!

Today's subject is adult immunizations. That's right, they're not just for kids! says that "each year, about 50,000 adults die from diseases that can be prevented by vaccines."

Here is the adult immunization schedule from CDC. It includes Tdap, HPV, varicella, influenza, shingles, and more.

A recent National Foundation for Infectious Diseases survey found that people are most likely to listen to their doctor about getting immunized. The Foundation reports that "The vast majority of respondents (87 percent) said they are very or somewhat likely to get a vaccine if
their doctor recommends it." And as adult vaccination rates are low, physicians are being urged to talk to their patients about immunizations.

There is also a racial disparity in adult vaccination rates. For example, 67% of older adults received a flu vaccine, but only 50% of blacks and Hispanics. The disparity is even wider for pneumococcal vaccination.

Some of the issue is the lack of knowledge about the important role vaccines play. According to the AMA News, "only 30% of young adults know that flu kills more Americans than any other vaccine-preventable disease."

So get on it. Get vaccinated. It's pretty likely you've been meaning to get that tetanus shot that's out of date. Go ahead and update your other vaccines as long as you're at the doctor's office. It may just save your life.

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