October 24, 2014

Adults not getting recommended vaccines

Health experts urge adults to take advantage of the vaccines that are available.

New findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight the fact that many adults are not getting the recommended vaccines, and it’s not just about the flu.

Carolyn Bridges, MD, with the CDC says there are 11 different vaccines recommended for adults to prevent against 14 diseases. Among them, the pneumococcal vaccine and T-DAP — tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis … or whooping cough. “We’ve been having a big outbreak of whooping cough in the United States over the last year, and this is a disease that can be particularly devastating for infants. Adults can get it, it can be very irritating or even debilitating.”

That’s something Wisconsin Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett knows all too well. After recently suffering a bout of whooping cough herself, she suggests everyone get their recommended vaccinations. “Oh yeah, I was down flat for over a week. It will knock you out. I never had anything like it and I hope not to again.”

Recent outbreaks of influenza, measles, and whooping cough are reminders of the unpredictability of the potentially serious diseases that can require hospitalization, and are sometimes deadly.

Bridges says it’s important for adults to get vaccinated, otherwise they can put others at risk. She says you might not necessarily be prone to disease, but you could easily pass that along to someone else who is more susceptible to getting sick or even die.

Bridges says your chance of getting shingles, which is very painful, is one in three; there are about a million cases per year. In 2011, there were some 37,000 cases of pneumococcal disease, resulting in 4,000 deaths. Bridges promotes awareness about the benefits of vaccinations, particularly among adults.

Take a quiz and get vaccine recommendations at the CDC website.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 2:06