ATLANTA—Vaccines aren’t just for kids, adults need protection too!. Sept. 18 kick-started National Adult Immunization Awareness Week and the Georgia Department of Public Health reminds Georgians that you never outgrow the need for vaccines.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show adults remain largely unvaccinated against preventable infectious illnesses. In fact, survey results from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases suggest that doctor/patient communication challenges may be at least part of the problem. The survey reported one in five adults believe vaccines are optional for healthy adults and 19 percent of those surveyed believe vaccination is generally not recommended for adults except for influenza or travel-related vaccines.
“Roughly 95 percent of the 50,000 Americans who die every year from vaccine-preventable diseases are adults,” said Dr. Anil T. Mangla, Georgia Department of Public Health. “By not getting vaccinated as recommended, adults are leaving themselves needlessly vulnerable to illness and potentially spreading vaccine-preventable diseases such as pertussis (whooping cough) to their friends, family and colleagues.”
In 2010, 247 pertussis cases were reported to Georgia’s Department of Public Health, with adults accounting for 22 percent of cases. In Georgia in 2010, 61.8 percent of adults 65 years and older received an annual seasonal influenza vaccination. There were nine deaths in Georgia among adults in 2010 from seasonal influenza. In 2010, 64.4 percent of adults in Georgia, 65 years and older have received the pneumococcal vaccination within their lifetime. The Healthy People 2020 goal for pneumococcal and seasonal influenza vaccination is 90 percent.
National Adult Immunization Awareness Week is recognized to promote among adults that they are never too old for their shots. Safe and effective vaccines are available to protect adults and children alike against potentially life-threatening diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, meningococcal disease, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, shingles, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chickenpox). Many adults are unaware of the potential risks of vaccine-preventable disease, the need for booster doses or the availability of new vaccines. So this September, talk to your health care provider or visit your public health department and find out if you’re current on your immunization recommendations and get immunized today.
The Georgia Department of Public Health encourages all Georgians to protect their friends, family and themselves from vaccine-preventable diseases by getting vaccinated.
For more information on immunization, visit http://health.state.ga.us/programs/immunization.