Millions of adults living in the U.S. are not up to date on their needed immunizations, leaving them at risk for preventable illnesses and even death, according to a new report released by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), the Infectious Diseases Society and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
According to the report, key reasons for the low immunization rates include a lack of knowledge about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, limited access to immunization and limited research and development of new vaccines in the United States.
“We need a national strategy to make vaccines a regular part of medical care and to educate Americans about the effectiveness and safety of vaccines,” said Jeffrey Levi, Ph.D., Executive Director of TFAH.
Significant findings in the report, Adult Immunization: Shots to Save Lives, include:
- 40,000 to 50,000 adults die annually from vaccine-preventable illnesses.
- The health care burden of adult vaccine-preventable diseases is about $10 billion annually.
- Only 36.1 percent of adults were vaccinated against seasonal flu in 2008.
- 33 percent of adults age 65 and older have not been vaccinated against pneumonia, a potential complication of seasonal flu.
- Only 2 percent of eligible adults have been vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.
The report offers recommendations to improve the adult immunization rate, including several strategies for the public health community:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state and local health departments, should receive increased resources to create education programs about adult vaccinations.
- Health providers should set an example by complying with recommended vaccinations.
- The National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the CDC should receive increased resources for vaccine research and development.
The CDC’s National Immunization Program offers an interactive vaccine scheduler health departments may find valuable in their efforts to educate providers and communities about adult immunizations. Find the scheduler at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/Scheduler/AdultScheduler.htm.
RWJF Scholar examines neighborhood-based death rates from opiate-based painkiller overdoses, compared with heroin overdose deaths.
Learn how The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is dedicated to building a culture of health in Risa Lavizzo-Mourey's 2014 annual message.
RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Jennifer Bellot writes about losing her grandmother to complications from a medical error.
The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps can be put to use right away to help create a culture of health in your community.
America is not getting good value for its health care dollar. These resources explore issues of cost and value of health care.
Judith Halstead, president of the National League for Nursing, writes about the role of nursing education in realizing a transformed health ...
While the need to address disparities in care is well known, few strategies for reducing disparities have been studied systematically.
RWJF Health & Society Scholar Brendan Saloner on subsidized health insurance's impact on family economics.
Hilary Levey Friedman, author of Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture, writes about youth sports.
Developing small community homes as alternatives to nursing homes, this radical, new national model for skilled nursing care returns control...
RWJF Scholar puzzles out why people who do not drink alcohol are at greater risk for premature death than light to moderate drinkers.
The Health and Medical Care Archives at the University of Michigan's Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research is the of...