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.
Executive Nurse Fellow Jerry Mansfield explains why the University Hospital and the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital do not have a BSN-only hi...
The What's Next Health series features leading thinkers and visionaries. Stanford social scientist & innovator BJ Fogg discusses his model f...
We create new opportunities for better health by investing in health where it starts—in our homes, schools, and jobs.
RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Jennifer Bellot writes about losing her grandmother to complications from a medical error.
Developing small community homes as alternatives to nursing homes, this radical, new national model for skilled nursing care returns control...
Patrick M. Krueger recently co-authored a study that examines the characteristics and mortality risks of nondrinker subgroups to explain why...
America is not getting good value for its health care dollar. These resources explore issues of cost and value of health care.
Team members, grantees, and guests discuss breakthrough ideas that will allow us to move toward solving challenges in health care.
Helping us understand what’s driving high health care costs is why we need more transparency in the prices, costs and quality of health care...
A new study finds healthier school meals standards could mean lower obesity rates among lower-income children. Read a Q&A with the author.
When companies invest in employee wellness, it’s good for health, productivity ... and the bottom line.
While the need to address disparities in care is well known, few strategies for reducing disparities have been studied systematically.