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Immunizations: Not Just for Children [AUDIO]

Immunizations are just as important for adults as they are for children. Each year, 30,000 Americans die of vaccine-preventable diseases, and 95 percent of those who die are adults.

Measles Vaccine
Mark Kegans, Getty Images

“Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, these vaccines can wear off,” said Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, general internist, clinical adjunct professor at Emory University School of Medicine, and spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Depending upon your job, your hobbies, your travel schedule, your health and the health of those around you, you may need additional vaccines.”

The CDC recommends that everyone over six months old receive a seasonal flu shot. The Tdap vaccine, which prevents tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, is also important.

“In 2012, there were more than 48,000 cases of whooping cough reported, and newborn babies and infants are at greatest risk of getting very sick or even dying,” Fryhofer said. “That’s why this Tdap vaccine is so important. We find that most of the time, the babies are exposed by those around them. Only 14 to 15 percent of adults have received Tdap, and that’s just not acceptable.”

If you have had chicken pox, you are at risk of shingles. In fact, one in three Americans will get shingles at some point in their lives, according to the CDC.

“Shingles can be painful and debilitating, and there is a vaccine that can prevent it. Only 20 percent of adults have received it,” Fryhofer said. “That’s another missed opportunity for protection.”

The following are the most routinely recommended vaccines for adults, according to the National Health Interview Survey:

“Vaccines not only protect you, they protect those around you and they keep you from spreading disease to others, and they are safe,” Fryhofer said. “Before vaccines are licensed by the Food and Drug Administration, they go through rigorous testing; and once they do go on the market, the FDA and the CDC continue to monitor them for safety.”

For more information, click here.

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