Adults fail to keep up-to-date on vaccinations
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The topic of vaccinations has certainly been on the minds of Americans lately.
And with all the talk of kids getting their shots, health officials now warn of a different group falling through the cracks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning adults that they may not be properly vaccinated.
Officials even went as far as to say U.S. numbers are dismal for non-flu vaccines.
“They often say, ‘oh, I got all my vaccinations as a kid.’ You’re 45, you haven’t been a kid for a good 25 years, and we’ve come up with many new vaccines since that time,” Infectious Disease Specialist Angela Pierce said.
She sees first-hand that adults in Indiana are failing to keep up with their shots.
“The most common vaccine that adults need – and it’s every eight to 10 years – is TDap, which is tetanus and pertussis,” she said.
Pertussis, or whooping cough, can be deadly if spread to infants.
“If you don’t know when your last tetanus or pertussis shot was it’s probably safe to go ahead and get a booster,” she said.
TDap is one vaccine officials at the CDC report people often fail to maintain.
In her experience, Pierce says MMR is another shot that people often go without.
“If you were born after 1957, then you need to check to see that you’ve had a measles shot and if you’re unsure there’s not really much downside to get that MMR,” she said.
Pierce said that many people have poor or missing shot records and just assume they are up-to-date.
“I think it’s important for people to not just take for granted that they got their vaccinations, but to actually find documentation of what those vaccines were and when they were done,” she said.
And if documentation isn’t available, she urges everyone to start the conversation with their doctors.
“They should ask you what vaccines have you had in the last five years and that’s where the discussion starts,” Pierce said.
Cost could be a reason people are not keeping up-to-date on their shots.
One aspect of the Affordable Care Act is that doctors are required to offer co-pay-free vaccinations if the CDC recommends them for your age group.
For an updated listing of recommended vaccinations recommended by the CDC, click here.