Health Alert: Too Many U.S. Adults Skip Key Vaccines

nov23-1Ordering discount Canada drugs online so you can take your prescriptions on schedule is a responsible way to manage your existing medical conditions. You can even earn rewards for being a loyal customer. However, if you’re like many Americans, you’re lax on preventative measures that can preserve your health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that many U.S. adults aren’t getting recommended vaccines to provide protection from life-threatening and serious diseases.

Overview of Alarming Vaccination Statistics

Vaccination rates for 2013 were highest among our youngest and oldest populations. Some 70 percent of youngsters under age 5 and 65 percent of seniors got vaccines. But only one-third of the healthy adults between 18 and 64 followed suit. That very age group also experienced the most hospitalizations during that year.

While pertussis (whooping cough), shingles, and HPV shots have risen in recent years, many people are ignoring other key vaccines including hepatitis and pneumonia. The 2012 National Health Interview Survey also provides other disappointing statistics. Vaccine rates for diseases besides the flu are significantly under target levels. Racial disparities continue with Caucasians being more apt than African-Americans and Hispanics to get important vaccinations.

Report highlights from smallest to largest percentages of adults who received vaccinations include:

Hepatitis A:

In 2012, just 12 percent of Americans aged 19-49 got full hepatitis A vaccines with a minimum of two doses.


Diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus combination shots increased to almost 16 percent. Coverage was nearly 26 percent in families with babies under 12 months old, much like the previous year. The CDC documented almost 50,000 pertussis, or whooping cough, cases in 2012. Tdap vaccines for pregnant women can protect their infants from whooping cough, a potentially fatal disease in babies. Other adults who spend time with little ones also need pertussis protection via vaccinations.


This vaccine will help prevent pneumonia’s most prevalent bacterial cause as well as its potentially fatal complications. It’s an important recommendation for everyone over age 64. But during both 2011 and 2012, only about 20 percent of all high-risk adults got their shots. Among those age 65 and up, the rate rose to 60 percent.

Herpes zoster:

The proportion of adults aged 60 and up who received this vaccination to protect them against the pain of shingles went up from less than 16 percent in 2011 to 20 percent in 2012.

Hepatitis B:

Approximately 35 percent of American adults between 19 and 49 got the suggested three and up hepatitis B doses, much like 2011.


Nearly 35 percent of women between the ages of 19 and 26 had at least one dose of the vaccination that protects them from getting cervical cancer. That figure rose from around 30 percent in 2011. Among males in the same age group, approximately 2 percent got this vaccine in both 2011 and 2012.


For 2012-13, 41.5 percent of adults received this vaccine, compared to 38.8 percent during the previous flu season. According to the CDC, the flu kills an estimated 24,000 Americans in any year. Whether you have a high-risk illness or you’re healthy overall, this recommended annual shot can prevent the flu or reduce the severity of this common viral infection and its complications.


These shots provide ongoing protection for around 10 years, so boosters are necessary every decade. Around 64 percent of 19- to 64-year-olds received some vaccines containing tetanus in the 10 years before the survey, which corresponded to 2010 numbers.

Typical Reasons for Skipping Vaccines

Why do so many Americans reject vaccinations that are among modern medicine’s most effective tools for preventing sickness, agony, and death? Lenox Hill Hospital’s Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist, notes that vaccination compliance continues to be discouragingly low. His patients voice various excuses for refusing vaccines. Rumors are the biggest deterrents. Over 12 reputable studies have confirmed that myths involving vaccines triggering autism are baseless. Other unfounded fears include vaccinations causing other illnesses and serious adverse reactions.

Dr. John Swartzberg notes the irony of one major reason for not getting vaccinations. The associated diseases that those vaccines stopped exist less often today. Unfortunately, prevention has led to complacency. Just because others aren’t contracting diseases doesn’t mean you won’t — unless you get the same vaccinations.

Despite media coverage of rising disease incidences, many patients still decline shots. Northern Westchester Hospital’s Dr. Debra Spicehandler, who specializes in infectious diseases, reports that healthy adults without chronic illnesses skip regular check-ups and vaccines that would boost their chances of remaining disease free. Cost shouldn’t be a deterrent because most medical insurance plans cover immunizations as preventive services.

Health Advantages of Improving Your Record

Overlooking personal protection affects more than just you. Swartzberg advises that disease prevention by vaccinating one person encourages herd immunity, so that condition won’t spread to countless others. If you’re unsure about your vaccination status, take this quick online quiz to discover which ones are overdo or upcoming.

The CDC advises reviewing your shot history with your doctor so you can get up to date with your protection. He can explain the benefits of each vaccine that you need and the possible health consequences of skipping them. Many clinicians offer vaccination reminder services to encourage you to stay on schedule. Following through can help prevent illnesses, suffering, and costly hospitalizations while prolonging or saving your life.