It’s not just young kids who need to get their shots prior to the start of school in a week or so. Karen Crimmings, a disease prevention specialist at the Cerro Gordo County Health Department, says many colleges are requiring proof of up-to-date vaccines, including the M-M-R or Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine and a meningitis shot. Crimmings says studies show college students are five times more likely to get meningitis than the rest of the population in that age group so it’s very important for freshmen living in dorms to get the vaccine. Crimmings says it’s hoped a new vaccine will bring down the number of meningitis cases on college campuses and health officials are encouraging younger people to get it. The vaccine offers a better immunity and allows a booster to be administered later if recommendations come up, something they didn’t have in the past. August is National Immunization Awareness Month. People will often associate this time of year with kindergarteners and middle schoolers getting their shots, but not adults, and Crimmings says that’s a mistake. The goal is to increase awareness about immunizations across a lifespan. She says it’s not just infants and school-aged kids, it goes all the way through the elderly. Adults forget they’re vulnerable too and need to keep on top of several vaccines. She says a new shot came out several weeks ago that combines a tetanus booster with protection from pertussis or whooping cough. It’s available in doses for adults and children. Other shots adults need to get include for pneumonia and for the flu.
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