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Too Few Adults Get Recommended Vaccinations
Date:2/4/2010

is vaccine is recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for all adults aged 65 and older. For most people, this is a one-time shot that will protect them from developing pneumonia, which is often a serious complication of flu.

Flu vaccine is another example. In 2008, only 36.1 percent of adults got a flu shot, according to the report.

In addition, only a few adults get other vaccine boosters that adults their age should have. In fact, only 2.1 percent of adults have had the tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough vaccine. And only 10 percent of women have had the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Not getting these vaccines not only causes thousands of preventable deaths, but accounts for $10 billion in preventable health care costs each year, according to the report.

There are several reasons adults bypass their vaccinations, according to the authors of the report:

  • Access to vaccines is limited since most adults do not work in places that require vaccination.
  • In many cases, insurance does not cover the cost of vaccines.
  • Many adults do not have health insurance and cannot afford vaccines.
  • Many adults believe vaccines aren't safe or effective.
  • There is not enough research and development of vaccines in the United States.
  • Vaccine production methods haven't been updated.

To increase the number of adults getting vaccinated, the authors of the report recommend:

  • Having vaccines covered by health insurance, including Medicare.
  • Covering vaccines for all uninsured adults.
  • Educating the public about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.
  • Getting doctors to keep track of their patients' vaccinations, and offering vaccines during regular exams and screenings.
  • Providing government incentives for research and development of vaccines to ensure supply.

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