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Adult Vaccinations: Time to Catch Up!

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adults it's time to get your vaccinations George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock

When was the last time you had a tetanus shot? Have you had your adult pertussis booster yet? Do you get the recommended influenza vaccine every year?

And what about those other adult vaccinations: pneumococcal, hepatitis, diptheria, human papillomavirus, and shingles?

If you're like most American adults, you're not up to date on all the vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some of these are recommended for all adults, and others for individuals in specific risk groups.

Tetanus, diptheria, and pertussis booster shots are recommended for all adults. The tetanus shot is recommended once every 10 years. According to CDC estimates, about 64 percent of Americans age 19 to 64 years has a current tetanus vaccination. The number drops to 53.4 percent for adults age 65 and older.

One of the tetanus booster shots should be the combined vaccine called Tdap, for tetanus, diptheria, and acellular pertussis. Pertussis is commonly called whooping cough.

Donna Gordon Blankinship reported in Bloomberg Businessweek that Washington state has declared a pertussis epidemic April 3, 2012, after 1,280 cases were reported. A Business Wire report in The Wall Street Journal encouraged clinical laboratories to be prepared for continued pertussis outbreaks.

According to the CDC, only 8.2 percent of Americans age 19 to 64 years are up to date on pertussis vaccination.

Pneumococcal vaccination is recommended for all adults age 65 and over, plus high-risk adults age 19 to 64 years. High-risk conditions include diabetes, heart conditions, lung conditions, kidney disease, and smoking.

The CDC estimates that pneumococcal vaccination coverage is only 18.5 percent for the high-risk group. For adults age 65 and over, coverage is 59.7 percent.

Herpes zoster vaccination is recommended to prevent shingles in adults age 60 and over. Only 14.4 percent of this population is estimated to have received the vaccine.

Influenza vaccination is recommended for every adult, every year. Approximately 40.5 percent of adults follow this recommendation.

Add a Comment2 Comments

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.