Adults Need Shots, as Well
The Columbus Dispatch
May 31, 2012
Between public-health clinics and doctors’ offices, it’s relatively easy for kids to receive immunizations in the United States.
But “once we cross the threshold of the 19th birthday, things get interesting and, frankly, they get difficult,” said Dr. William Schaffner, president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, a Maryland-based nonprofit organization.
Columbus Public Health is trying to make it easier for adults, many of whom go without immunizations for a variety of reasons. Some have no insurance, or their doctors don’t stock the vaccine they need.
The city’s clinic already offers the following vaccines: Tdap (for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), Td (for tetanus and diphtheria) and influenza.
As of this week, it’s also providing vaccines against pneumonia; measles, mumps and rubella; varicella (chicken pox); and hepatitis B.
Fees range from $10 to $90 (plus $15 for a nurse’s assessment).
The city is not offering the vaccine against shingles, but that’s under consideration, said Carla Hicks, administrator for the division of clinical health.
Schaffner said most people “think that vaccines are for kids. The vast majority of vaccine-preventable illnesses and deaths occur in adults.”
Vaccine recommendations for those older than 18 vary, and many people end up seeking them when they take a job in health care or travel overseas.
But a lot of adult Americans without any special circumstances are forgoing vaccines that could save them from severe illness or even death. People hear about flu shots all the time, but many don’t realize they also should get a pneumonia vaccine and the Tdap booster.
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