Mom and Dad: Your turn to roll up your sleeves!

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When we talk about vaccinations, we usually focus on children. However, a new report by the CDC shows that too many adults are shirking the immunizations that they need.

As the CDC report notes, about 45,000 Americans die every year from vaccine-preventable illnesses. The authors suggest that a lack of information, as well as infrequent visits to a doctor, are most likely responsible for the low rates of important adult immunizations. Inadequate insurance coverage might also contribute to the problem, ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan notes.

The report found that the 2010 rates of adult vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (covered by the Tdap vaccine), human papillomavirus (HPV), and shingles had increased slightly since 2009. However, the rate of other adult immunizations, including those against pneumonia and hepatitis A and B, had improved very little since 2009. (The most commonly administered adult vaccine, that for influenza, was not discussed in this report).

Considering the findings of the CDC study, chances are that most of us need to learn more about which vaccinations and booster shots we should be getting. The CDC s updated schedule of adult immunizations is now available. And, for discussion of the larger issue of adult immunization, our 2009 publication can supply you with more background.