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Vaccines Health Center

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Many U.S. Adults Not Getting Key Vaccines: CDC

Little progress seen beyond shingles, HPV and Tdap vaccinations, researchers report


Dr. Debra Spicehandler, an infectious diseases expert at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., agreed greater awareness of the benefits of vaccination is critical.

"Vaccinations are mostly likely low in the healthy adult population who do not regularly seek health care and who do not have underlying diseases," Spicehandler said. "Nationwide campaigns to focus on all adults should be started."

Spicehandler added a reminder about another important vaccine, the flu vaccine. "It is still not too late to be vaccinated for protection against influenza this season. Rates of active disease are peaking now," she said. "Early campaigns focused on healthy adults as well as adults with underlying diseases should be done next season."

Other highlights of the CDC report include:

Pneumonia: Overall, 20 percent of high-risk adults received this vaccination in 2012, about the same number as in 2011. Among adults 65 and older, 60 percent were vaccinated overall.

Tetanus: About 64 percent of adults aged 19 to 64 received some tetanus-containing vaccine in the previous 10 years -- about the same as the previous year.

Tdap: Coverage against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus increased modestly to nearly 16 percent, but in homes with infants under 1 year, coverage was almost 26 percent, similar to the prior year.

Hepatitis A: Only 12 percent of adults aged 19 to 49 had full hepatitis A vaccination coverage (at least two doses) in 2012.

Hepatitis B: About 35 percent of U.S. adults aged 19 to 49 had the recommended three or more doses of hepatitis B vaccine, much the same as in 2011.

Herpes Zoster: Twenty percent of adults age 60 and older received this vaccine to protect against shingles, up from fewer than 16 percent in 2011.

HPV: Almost 35 percent of women aged 19 to 26 received one or more doses of this vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer, up from about 30 percent the year before. About 2 percent of males in this age group got the vaccine, similar to the 2011 number.

Overall, adult vaccination rates are discouraging, health officials said. "These data indicate little progress was made in improving adult coverage in the past year and highlight the need for continuing efforts to increase adult vaccination coverage," said the CDC.

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