Vaccine-preventable diseases cause approximately 50,000 adult deaths each year in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. Yet, most adult Americans are not immunized properly.
Although there has been a slight increase in adult vaccination rates in recent years, "there clearly is a gap in getting adults vaccinated," said Dr.Melinda Warton, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Adult vaccines help in the prevention of certain diseases. They also reduce the spread of disease to others, and they prevent epidemics. Vaccines have very few side effects. They are often required for entrance into colleges and universities, for employment purposes, and for travel outside the United States.
There are many reasons why it is important for adults to receive their immunization shots. Not everyone was fully vaccinated as a child. If you did not get vaccines for diseases like measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox, or if you did not get any of the diseases themselves, you need the shots as an adult.
"We are seeing a lot more grandparents coming in for the Tdap or tetanus vaccine, so they can protect their grandchildren," said Rita Spahlinger, public health nurse for The Trumbull County Health Department. Her agency immunized approximately 800 people in 2010. She went on to add that "our biggest draw is definitely hepatitis B. It is always available for health care workers."
Because hepatitis B can be transmitted from one person to another, the hepatitis B vaccine is highly recommended for adults who are sexually active with a number of partners. It is also suggested for all adults who come in contact with STD and HIV treatment facilities, drug abuse clinics, correctional facilities, end stage renal disease programs, as well as chronic hemodialysis patients
n Although adult vaccinations are extremely important, not everyone should be vaccinated due to serious health risks which could occur.
n According to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous vaccination, or a component of that vaccination, should not be immunized again. Adults with moderate or severe illnesses should wait until they are recovered entirely before even thinking about being immunized.
n Several vaccines like influenza and yellow fever contain eggs. People who have ever had a severe allergic reaction to eggs should not receive these inoculations.
n People allergic to gelatin should not be administered the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), or the shingles (herpes zoster) vaccines. They should also not receive the yellow fever vaccine.
n Hepatitis B and the human papilloma virus both contain baker's yeast. If you are allergic to chicken, avoid the yellow fever immunization.
n People with heart disease, kidney or liver disease, lung disease, diabetes, asthma, or anemia should also obtain the inactive form of the influenza vaccine, which does not contain eggs.
n Anyone who has ever had Guillain-Barre Syndrome should not receive the meningococcal, tetanus, or the anthrax vaccine.
n Adults, with HIV / AIDS or other diseases affecting the immune system, or those receiving cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy, should not receive the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), shingles (herpes zoster), varicella (chicken pox), live typhoid (oral), and the yellow fever vaccine.
Health care providers are often exposed to all sorts of potential infections. Most of these workers are required to have not only a complete vaccination series, including measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B and whooping cough, but annual influenza shots as well.
The specific immunizations adults need depend not only on age, lifestyle, overall health, pregnancy status and travel plans, but also on whom they are in close contact with and what vaccines they had as a child.
Cheryl Strother, director of nursing for the Warren Board of Health stated that her department administered 1,066 adult immunizations in 2010. "We do have several adult programs whereas if the adult qualifies, they could get the vaccinations for free," she said.
Adults who have asthma, heart disease, lung disease or who smoke cigarettes are highly susceptible to their immune systems being compromised. The Pneumococcal vaccine helps prevent serious cases of pneumonia and other bloodstream infections in these patients.
The CDC strongly suggests that adults get vaccinated for tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis) once every 10 years. Females between the ages of 19 and 26 should have three doses of the human papilloma virus.
Between the ages of 19 and 65, adults should have a meningococcal vaccine. They should also have two doses of varicella (chicken pox), pneumococcal and hepatitis A. It is recommended to have three doses of the hepatitis B vaccine during this time.
Regarding measles, mumps and rubella, adults should receive two vaccinations by the age of 50, and one dose between the ages of 50 and 65. The influenza vaccine should be administered every year for those older than 49.
Not all vaccines are for everyone. Some vaccines contain chemical additives like aluminum, antibiotics, egg proteins, formaldehyde, monosodium glutamate, and thimerosal. These additives may cause harm to certain individuals. Ask your doctor about which vaccines are right.