CDC says adult vaccination rates lagging

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report has shown that vaccination rates for adults ages 19 and older continued to fall below optimal levels in 2009, though some conditions, like influenza and hepatitis B, saw improvement.

Health experts are hoping that physicians will discuss more recommended vaccines with adults during each office visit and educate adult patients about why these vaccines are needed, according to American Medical News.  

“Physicians have to do a better job conveying the important of immunizations to patients, particularly to our adult patients,” Susan J. Rehm, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, said, according to American Medical News. “I know very well how busy primary care physicians are. There are tons of things to be covered in every visit. The immunization discussion doesn’t need to be long. It needs to be concise and clear.”

Around 50,000 U.S. adults die from diseases preventable by vaccines each year according to the NFID. Sixty-five percent of seniors were immunized against the flu in the 2008-09 flu season, which was short of the CDC’s Health People 2010 goal of 90 percent. Health care personnel rose in flu vaccination coverage, hepatitis B vaccine and in Tdap immunization.

“For most [vaccines], coverage isn’t as high as we’d like it to be,” Melinda Wharton, deputy director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said, American Medical News reports. “But there are trends going up, and that’s good. I’m hopeful we will continue to see an increase in [vaccine] coverage (among adults), but we clearly have lots of room for improvement.”