CDC Says Few American Adults are Sufficiently Vaccinated

The Centers for Disease Control has warned that far too few American adults are being vaccinated against serious, even deadly diseases. A study by CDC found that less than five percent of American adults are up-to-date on all of their immunizations.

"There's always been an emphasis in pediatrics on prevention, and immunizations are a big part of that, but adult medicine has not caught up," said William Sutker, M.D., infectious disease specialist on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. "I think people don't realize the number of deaths that occur because of infectious diseases every year."

So what should you be vaccinated against? All adults older than age 50, or those with diabetes or heart disease, should receive flu and pneumonia vaccines, but it is estimated that just more than half actually do.

"I think the flu and pneumonia vaccine are grossly underutilized," Sutker said. All adults older than age 60 also should be vaccinated against shingles--just two-percent currently are vaccinated. Another concern is whooping cough.

"Because adults haven't been immunized against whooping cough in years, the illness is now starting to show up in adults and so that's why there’s been a new emphasis trying to immunize adults again," Sutker said.

The whooping cough vaccine is given in combination with the diphtheria and tetnus booster--which adults should get every 10 years. Experts say the results of this CDC study prove not nearly enough emphasis is put on adult immunizations which can be lifesaving.

"So although it seems we're more concerned with heart disease and cancer. I think the public needs to know that infectious diseases are still out there and are a potential cause of problems," Sutker added.

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