Friday, July 31, 2009

Many Adults Remain Unaware of the Importance of Keeping Vaccines Up to Date

Because children are required to have a number of vaccines before they can even attend school, parents have at least an annual reminder to keep their shots up to date. However, many young adults in America remain unaware of the need to keep their shots current. According to the 2008 National Health Interview Survey of almost 22,000 adults, few young adults are aware that they can get vaccinated to prevent many deadly diseases including meningitis, whooping cough, tetanus and pneumonia as well as to guard against painful conditions such as shingles.

The survey revealed that vaccination rates are still far below national target levels. As an example, although 84 percent of Americans over the age of 50 know that tetanus causes lockjaw, and that a booster shot for tetanus prevention is required every 10 years, only about half (49 percent) of adults between the ages of 18 to 26 are aware of this fact. In addition, only 15 percent of people aged 19 to 64 have received the Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. (A Tdap booster is recommended in place of one tetanus-diphtheria booster vaccine).

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