Vaccines aren’t just for kids, but a new federal study finds very few adults bother to get the shots which could ward off a variety of ailments. Dr. Patty Quinlisk, Iowa’s chief epidemiologist, says there’s a vaccine recommended for people over 60 that helps to prevent the very painful disease called shingles, but not many Iowans have gotten the shot.
Quinlisk says: "It is a new vaccine. There has been some publication on it but a lot of people are not aware of it and don’t realize that they can substantially reduce their risk of getting shingles if they would get this vaccine." A million new cases of shingles are reported every year, but in the year since the shingles vaccine was made available, the study found only about two-percent of American adults got the shot.
Outside of getting an annual flu shot, many Iowa adults never go to the trouble of looking into vaccinations. Quinlisk says modern medicine is developing new revolutions all the time. "Actually, there are quite a few vaccines for adults," Quinlisk says, "for example, there’s a new tetanus vaccine that includes pertussis or whooping cough that’s just got licensed for adults. It’s out there and a lot of adults have not had that one, and yet we certainly have had adults who get whooping cough and it causes them to cough for months sometimes."
The study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says by skipping the latest vaccines, some adults are leaving themselves vulnerable to serious illness, suffering and even death. Quinlisk says: "There’s several other vaccines that have come out recently, so yeah, I think we’ve done a very good job of convincing people about the need for children to get vaccinated but I think most adults don’t really think about them needing vaccines, except for the flu shot."
Besides the widely-popular flu shot, Quinlisk says one adult vaccine that -is- catching on works to prevent H-P-V, or Human Papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer.