Navigation Links
Vaccinations Aren't Just for Kids

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Public health experts often focus immunization awareness efforts toward protecting children, and with good reason: Facing a potentially bewildering schedule of vaccinations for their young ones, parents usually need all the help they can get.

But vaccinations aren't just kid stuff.

Medical science is creating an increasing number of immunizations targeted at adults, to help them avoid life-threatening diseases in middle-age and opportunistic infections when they're older.

"Immunization is a life-long issue that we need to pay a lot of attention to," said Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.

Some adult vaccinations are very well-known, like the annual shot that aims to prevent the spread of influenza.

"You need an influenza shot every year," Benjamin said. "Part of that is because the virus changes every year, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot."

The flu vaccine is the least challenging of adult vaccines to promote because just about everyone can and should get one, with very few exceptions, said Dr. Carolyn B. Bridges, associate director for adult immunizations at the Immunization Services Division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"People don't have to go through a process to figure out if they are indicated or not for the vaccine," said Bridges, noting that, as of last year, everyone 6 years and older is recommended to receive an annual flu shot.

Newer vaccines, however, are targeted toward specific age groups, which can make it more difficult to figure out which shots are needed.

For example, the relatively new human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine prevents infection by a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer in women.

"The vaccine is recommended for younger girls, but young adults who didn't receive it as preteens or teens can get it," Bridges said. It's still being debated whether boys and young men also should receive the vaccine, to keep them from spreading HPV to vulnerable women.

An increasing number of vaccines either target senior citizens specifically or are highly recommended for them. That's because these immunizations give the immune system an extra boost when most needed, Benjamin and Bridges said.

"As we age, our ability to fight off disease wanes," Benjamin said. "Vaccines can help offset the waning of your body's normal immune responses."

One example is the herpes zoster vaccination, which is recommended for everyone 60 or older, according to the CDC. The herpes zoster shot prevents the occurrence of shingles, a painful skin disorder linked to childhood infection with chicken pox, Bridges said.

Other vaccinations recommended for seniors include:

  • A pneumococcal vaccination at age 65, if you've never had the shot before. "We try to tag that to when you become Medicare eligible," Benjamin said.
  • A second dose of the measles/mumps/rubella vaccination. "We encourage people to get a second dose of MMR at the age of 50 and older," he said.
  • A tetanus/diphtheria booster every 10 years after age 65.
  • The influenza vaccine, every year. "Flu is still a major problem in terms of mortality for seniors," Benjamin said.

People at increased risk for certain diseases, either because of work, illness or lifestyle, also might require vaccination as an adult.

For instance, those planning to travel abroad should talk with their family physician about shots they might need to provide additional protection against infectious disease. "If you're going to travel to other places where you might have some risk for some diseases, you might need to get a travel vaccine," Benjamin said.

Health-care workers also need to receive a wide variety of vaccinations, including hepatitis A and B shots, tetanus/diphtheria and measles/mumps/rubella, according to the CDC.

However, pregnant women are not recommended to get most vaccinations, Benjamin said. A notable exception, though, is the influenza vaccine, which pregnant women are encouraged to get, Bridges said.

"There are now numerous studies that have shown that influenza vaccine provides protection in an infant's first six months of life," she said. "The mother transfers antibody to the unborn child so when they are born they have some protection against influenza."

Yet despite health-care workers' efforts, some adults remain reluctant to get vaccinated because of various health concerns. A common one is that, by getting the flu shot, they will actually contract the flu.

Bridges said that public health officials need to help people overcome such fears so that they will protect themselves against deadly but easily avoidable illnesses.

"These vaccines are all licensed because they've been deemed safe and effective," she said. "The risk of adverse events is much lower than the risk of severe illness."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on adult vaccinations.

In a related article, a former public health official talks about fear as vaccination motivation.

Targeted Diseases

(HealthDay News) -- Diseases that can be prevented through vaccination, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include:

  • Anthrax: The vaccine is given to anyone who may be exposed to anthrax, but it is not yet available for the general public.
  • Cervical cancer: The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine is used to prevent the most common types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.
  • Chicken pox
  • Diphtheria: Several combination vaccines -- DTaP, Tdap, DT and Td -- prevent diphtheria.
  • Genital warts: Protection comes from the HPV vaccine.
  • Hepatitis: Vaccines exist for both hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
  • Influenza
  • Measles
  • Meningitis: Prevention comes from the Hib vaccine (Haemophilus influenzae type b).
  • Mumps
  • Pneumonia: The Hib vaccine prevents pneumonia.
  • Polio
  • Rabies: Exposure to rabies would still require medical attention, but vaccination before exposure may reduce the needed treatment and minimize the person's reaction to the treatment.
  • Shingles
  • Smallpox
  • Tetanus: Several vaccines prevent tetanus, including DTaP, Tdap, DT and Td.
  • Tuberculosis
  • Typhoid
  • Whooping cough
  • Yellow fever

SOURCES: Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., executive director, American Public Health Association; carolyn B. Bridges, M.D., captain, U.S. Public Health Service, and associate director for adult immunizations, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Most states offer HPV vaccinations to girls in juvenile justice system
2. No Benefit Seen in Delaying Infant Vaccinations
3. Government urges universal flu vaccinations
4. Strengthening routine flu vaccination and health programs may improve pandemic vaccinations
5. Many Higher-Income Parents Forgoing Kids Vaccinations: Report
6. Adult Vaccinations Protect Children: Report
7. Fear Proves Prime Motivator for Vaccinations
8. Family Research Council: Planned Parenthood Report Oversexualizes Ten-Year-Olds, Undermines Parental Authority
9. Planned Parenthood Sex Ed Program Is an Assault on Parental Rights
10. Explorers Bounty Puffed Fruit Snacks Helping Parents Battle Summer Obesity
11. Parents often wait too long to treat childrens asthma symptoms
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Vaccinations Aren't Just for Kids
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs ... College of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. ... treatment for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand ... project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s ... within Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a ... Magna Cum Laude and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at ... returned to Los Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the ... to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The ... Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article ... are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that individuals are now more ... these less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... VEGAS , June 26, 2016 ... to value-based care operating models within the health care ... enable greater financial efficiency , Deloitte offers a ... the key business issues impacting efficient cost optimization: labor ... , These services facilitate better outcomes and better ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 ... Markets has announced the addition of the " ... offering. This ... and provides an updated review, including its applications in ... the total market, which includes three main industries: pharmaceutical ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... report to their offering. ... The World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the world market ... the report includes the following: , World ... Region (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , World IVD ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: