National Immunization Awareness Month- Adult Vaccinations

Posted by Thorek Memorial Hospital | Aug 28, 2014 9:02:00 AM


Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives.

  • Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, the protection from some vaccines you 
    received can wear off over time and you may need a booster. 
  • There also are specific vaccines that you may need as you get older based on your age, 
    job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions.
  • Many adults are not aware that vaccines are recommended for them throughout their 
    lives to prevent serious diseases, including:
    • Flu (influenza)
    • Pneumococcal disease
    • Shingles (zoster)
    • Tetanus
    • Whooping cough (pertussis) 
    • Hepatitis A
    • Hepatitis B

Adult vaccination rates are low.

  • Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new 
    data on adult vaccination rates from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). 
    The bottom line is that adult immunization rates remain extremely low.
    • Only 20% of adults aged 60 and older received the Zoster vaccine to help 
      prevent shingles. Nearly one million Americans suffer from shingles each year 
      and older adults are most likely to experience severe long-term pain from the 
    • Only 14% of adults aged 19 and older received the Tdap vaccine to protect them 
      against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). 
    • In 2012, more than 48,000 cases of whooping cough were reported in the 
    • We often think of whooping cough as a disease for babies; however, thousands 
      of adults get whooping cough each year. Many may suffer complications, such as 
      pneumonia. Newborns and infants are most at risk for severe illness and death 
      making it critical for pregnant women and other adults who will be around or 
      caring for babies to be immunized. Pregnant women need Tdap vaccine during 
      the third trimester of every pregnancy to give the baby some short-term 
      protection against whooping cough when the baby is too young to be immunized.

Why are adult vaccination rates so low?

  • One of the reasons adult vaccination rates remain low is because many adults simply 
    don't know that they need vaccines throughout their lives. 
  • There also are many missed opportunities to vaccinate adults, especially those who do 
    not visit their healthcare professionals regularly. 
  • CDC encourages all healthcare professionals to routinely assess the immunization 
    status of all of their patients and strongly recommend needed vaccines.

What is CDC doing to raise adult vaccination rates?

  • CDC created a series of print, radio, and digital public service announcements to help 
    increase awareness about the importance of adult vaccines. I encourage you to air these 
    on your station to help spread the word throughout the community.

You can't afford to get sick.

  • Each year thousands of adults in the United States suffer serious health problems from 
    common diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. 
  • This could mean missed activities and work, medical bills, and not being able to care for 
    loved ones.
  • You can protect your health and the health of those around you by getting the vaccines 
    recommended for you.
  • Vaccines reduce your chance of getting sick by working with your body's natural 
    defenses to reduce your chances of getting certain diseases. 
  • Vaccines reduce your chance of spreading certain diseases to your family and friends.

Adults have many vaccination options.

  • Adults can get vaccines at doctors' offices, pharmacies, workplaces, community health 
    clinics, and health departments. To find a vaccine provider near you, go to
  • Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines. Check with your 
    insurance provider for details and to find an in-network immunization provider.

Written by Thorek Memorial Hospital

Thorek Memorial Hospital has been providing quality, progressive health care to Chicagoans since 1911.

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