CDC study shows adults lack proper vaccinations

New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that American adults lack proper vaccinations against preventable infectious illnesses.

At a news conference held on November 17 by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, experts in public health, infectious disease, oncology and other specialties urged adults and health care providers to improve vaccination rates. They also discussed the data and new findings as well as the consequences of adults remaining unvaccinated.

The study found that vaccination rate for tetanus among all racial groups from the ages of 19 to 64 is near 51 percent. For hepatitis, in the same age range, the percent vaccinated varies widely by race. Forty-three and 44 percent of caucasians and Hispanics are vaccinated, respectively, while only 37 percent of African-Americans are vaccinated.

Influenza vaccination rates for those above the age of 50 also vary greatly by race, with caucasians between 50 and 64 vaccinated at a rate of 42 percent, Hispanics at 37 percent, and African-Americans at 31 percent.

Vaccinations among healthcare workers appear to be uniformly increasing, the study shows. Influenza vaccinations are up seven percent to 53 percent, hepatitis B vaccinations are up 2.5 percent to 65 percent and TDap rates are up 1.6 percent to 58 percent.

"For more than six decades, vaccines have protected us from infectious illnesses that have a wide range of consequences, from lost work days and inability to meet our daily obligations, to pain, discomfort, hospitalization, long-term disability and death," Susan J. Rehm, NFID's medical director, said.

Rehm stressed that by not getting vaccinations, people risked passing infections on to other people.