Friday, September 4, 2009

Immunizations, recommended shots save lives and suffering

Immunizations during adulthood are recommended for more than a dozen diseases (see details below).

For example, more than one million adults get shingles every year, even though a vaccine now exists that eases the disease and even prevents it. It's approved for use by adults 60 and older. Yet only 1.9 percent of adults who qualify have received the vaccine, the CDC says.

The results are from the CDC's National Immunization Survey, presented at a press conference in Washington.

Many people don't know they're not at risk. But Dr. Michael Oxman of the University of California, San Diego, told reporters that "everyone who's had chicken pox — and basically that's everyone in this room — is at risk of shingles."

That's because the chicken pox virus can lay dormant and then reactivate decades later, causing shingles. Shingles usually appears as a blistering rash on one side of the face or torso.

Nearly everyone who gets shingles has pain. "And many people describe the shingles pain as the worst pain they've ever endured," Oxman says.

I highly recommend the singles vaccine as if u get it it will be so painful and I didnt know about the shot and got a bad case Neil

Other survey findings include:

—Only 10 percent of women age 18 to 26 have received the vaccine for human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer.

—Vaccination rates for flu and pneumonia are well below the 90 percent national target set for the elderly.

—Only 2.1 percent of adults 18 to 64 years old are immunized against tetanus-diphtheria-whooping cough.

"By skipping vaccination, people are leaving themselves needlessly vulnerable to significant illness, long-term suffering and even death," Schuchat says.

Flu and related cases of pneumonia kill 36,000 people annually. Wider flu immunization could prevent many of these deaths.

In addition, some 5,000 annual deaths due to pneumonia alone can be prevented with the pneumonia vaccine, says Dr. Robert Hopkins of the University of Arkansas for Medical Science in Little Rock.

Whooping cough is also on the rise in children and adults. Coughing can last for weeks or even months. The rise in the number of whooping cough cases puts vulnerable infants at risk of severe disease and even death.

full review of adult shots

Herpes Zoster (shingles)

Who should have the shingles vaccine?
Consider the shingles vaccine if you are over the age of 60.

When and how often?
One dose, once in your life.

Who shouldn't have it?
Don't get this vaccine if you are moderately sick or you've ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin or any other component of the shingles vaccine. Avoid it if you have a weakened immune system from HIV/AIDS, are receiving medical treatments such as steroids, radiation and chemotherapy, have a history of bone or lymphatic cancer, or you have active, untreated tuberculosis.

Flu (influenza)

Who should have the flu vaccine?
Get the flu vaccine if you:

  • Are 50 or older
  • Have a chronic illness, such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Work in a health care setting
  • Live in a long term care facility
  • Are pregnant (inactivated vaccine only)
  • Want to reduce your chances of missing work because of flu

When and how often?
Once a year, ideally in October or November.

Who shouldn't have it?
Talk with your doctor about whether it's safe if you:

  • Are allergic to chicken eggs
  • Have had an allergic reaction to a previous dose of flu vaccine
  • Have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome after previous flu vaccination


Who should have the pneumonia (pneumococcal) vaccine?
Get the pneumonia vaccine if you:

  • Are 65 or older
  • Have a chronic illness such as lung or cardiovascular disease, or diabetes
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Have had your spleen removed

When and how often?
Get one dose of the vaccine at any time. You may need a second dose if you:

  • Are age 65 or older and received your first dose before age 65
  • Have a weakened immune system, an organ or bone marrow transplant, kidney disease or have had your spleen removed

Who shouldn't have it?
Consult with your doctor if you have a moderate or severe acute illness.

Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis

Who should have the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a combined tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine for:

  • Adults 19 to 64 years who received their last tetanus vaccine more than 10 years ago
  • Adults, including parents, child care providers and health care workers, who have close contact with infants
  • Women who have just given birth and who received their last tetanus vaccine less than 10 years ago
  • Any woman who might become pregnant
  • Adults who have a "dirty" wound — a wound likely to become infected — and whose last Tdap booster was five or more years ago

When and how often?
Adults 19 to 64 who are due for a tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster shot should receive Tdap instead if they have not previously received Tdap. Other recommendations include:

  • A series of three vaccinations, beginning with a single dose of Tdap, followed at four weeks by a single dose of Td and another dose of Td six to 12 months later for adults who never finished the Td series or don't know if they ever received the Td vaccine.
  • Tdap instead of Td for adults needing a tetanus shot for wound management if they have not received Tdap before.
  • A single dose of Tdap at least two weeks before having close contact with an infant. Pregnant women shouldn't receive Tdap until after giving birth, although Td may be given in the second or third trimester.

Who shouldn't have it?
Don't get this shot if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Have experienced coma or seizures within seven days of receiving a pertussis vaccine
  • Have had Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Are currently ill


Who should have the meningitis (meningococcal) vaccine?
Get the meningitis vaccine if you:

  • Are a college freshman living in a dormitory
  • Travel to areas of the world with a high incidence of meningitis
  • Have had your spleen removed

When and how often?
One dose, which you can get anytime. It's not known whether a booster shot is needed.

Who shouldn't have it?
Most healthy adults do not require this vaccine on a routine basis, but it may be recommended if you are at high risk or an outbreak occurs in your community.


Who should have the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine?
Get the varicella vaccine if you:

  • Have never had chickenpox, especially if you live with someone who has a weakened immune system
  • Aren't sure whether you've had chickenpox
  • Are considering becoming pregnant and don't know if you're immune to chickenpox

When and how often?
Two doses, four to eight weeks apart.

Who shouldn't have it?
Don't get it if you are pregnant, might become pregnant within four weeks of the vaccine or have a weakened immune system.

Measles, mumps and rubella

Who should have the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine?
If you were born during or after 1957 and never had an MMR vaccination, you need to get one dose now. The following people need two doses:

  • Those recently exposed to measles or in an outbreak setting
  • Health care workers
  • People vaccinated with killed measles vaccine or an unknown type of vaccine from 1963 to 1967
  • Travelers
  • College students and health care workers
  • People who have had a rubella blood test that shows no immunity

When and how often?
One or two doses at any age, for life.

Who shouldn't get it?
Adults born before 1957 are considered immune to measles. Do not get an MMR vaccination if you have a weakened immune system or you are pregnant or may become pregnant within four weeks of the vaccine.

Human papillomavirus

Who should have the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine?
The HPV vaccine is routinely recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls. However, it's also recommended for girls and women between the ages of 13 and 26 who didn't receive the vaccine earlier.

When and how often?
A series of three doses — the second at two months after your first dose and the last at six months after your first dose.

Who shouldn't have it?
Don't get this vaccine if you have ever had a life-threatening reaction to yeast or to the HPV vaccine, or you're pregnant or moderately to severely sick.

Hepatitis A

Who should have the hepatitis A vaccine?
Get the vaccine if you:

  • Have a clotting factor disorder
  • Have chronic liver disease
  • Are a man who has sex with other men
  • Inject illegal drugs or have sex with someone who does
  • Are a health care worker who might be exposed to the virus in a lab setting
  • Travel or work in countries with a high incidence of hepatitis

When and how often?
You need two doses — you'll receive the second dose between six and 18 months after the first. Hepatitis A vaccine can be combined with the hepatitis B vaccine in a three-dose series.

Who shouldn't have it?
Don't get a vaccination if you're currently sick.

Hepatitis B

Who should have the hepatitis B vaccine?
Get the vaccine if you:

  • Have more than one sex partner in six months
  • Are a man who has sex with other men
  • Have sex with a person infected with hepatitis B
  • Inject illegal drugs
  • Are a hemodialysis patient
  • Are a health care or public safety worker who might be exposed to infected blood or body fluids
  • Live in a household with someone who has chronic hepatitis B infection

When and how often?
A series of three shots once in your lifetime.

Who shouldn't have it?
Don't get the vaccine if you are allergic to baker's yeast or are currently sick.

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