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CDC Report Finds Adult Vaccination Rates Still Lagging
Date:11/17/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Although there have been slight increases in some adult vaccination rates, U.S. health officials reported Wednesday that those rates are still not what they should be.

"We needed vaccinations as infants and toddlers, but we also need vaccinations as adults," Dr. Susan J. Rehm, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, said during an afternoon news conference Wednesday.

Rehm noted that vaccination rates among children are very good. "Because of that, we see only a fraction of the vaccine-preventable diseases we saw in the past, and a fraction of the deaths and sufferings from these diseases," she said. "But our advances will be undone if we do not maintain our immunity as adults."

Speaking at the same news conference, Dr. Melinda Wharton, deputy director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced some new data on adult immunization rates.

The rate of coverage for the pneumococcal vaccine, which is recommend for adults over the age of 65 to prevent pneumonia, has remained at 65 percent since 2008, Wharton said. However, the rate of vaccination among blacks and Hispanics is far below this, she added.

The rate of adults being vaccinated with the newer vaccines is increasing, Wharton said. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was first recommended in 2007 for young women to prevent cervical cancer. By 2009, 17 percent of women aged 19 to 26 had received at least one shot -- three are required, Wharton noted. "This is up 6.2 percent, compared with 2008," she said.

Another new vaccine is the herpes zoster vaccine, which prevents shingles and is recommended for adults aged 60 and over. Coverage with this vaccine is up a little from 2008, from 8 percent to 10 percent, Wharton said.

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