National Immunization Awareness Month- Adult Vaccinations

Posted: 8/28/2014

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:
o Flu (influenza)
o Pneumococcal disease
o Shingles (zoster)
o Tetanus
o Whooping cough (pertussis)
o Hepatitis A
o 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.
o 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
o 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
o 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.