Health officials encourage vaccinations for adults

After California’s recent whooping cough outbreak and the large amount of flu cases popping up across the nation, health officials have urged adults to get vaccinated in order to protect vulnerable patients like babies and the elderly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of six months receive a flu shot, but the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey found that only a third of Americans in that age group received a shot in 2009, USA Today reports.

A smaller percentage than that - 7 percent of adults in 2009 - are vaccinated against whooping cough, which has sickened at least 6,800 people and killed 10 infants in California.

“Adults are now susceptible (to whooping cough) because their baby shots are wearing off,” Patrick Joseph, vice president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, said, according to USA Today. “Adults are now susceptible, because their baby shots are wearing off. When adults get whooping cough, it’s incredibly contagious, and they’re spreading it to children.”

Susan Rehm, a doctor at the infectious disease foundation, told USA Today that many adults aren’t aware that they need to be vaccinated against diseases like whooping cough.

Nine of the 10 young California victims were under two months old and most of the hospitalizations have been babies under two months of age.