While more adults are getting vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) and whooping cough, the CDC reports that adults, as a whole, aren't doing a good job at keeping up to date with recommended shots, including the flu shot and nearly a dozen other vaccines recommended for adults.
According to the report, vaccinations recommended for adults – like the herpes zoster (shingles) vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine, and hepatitis A and B vaccine – have slowed down, with little to no change in recent years.
“In general, too few adults are taking advantage of the protection of vaccines, leaving themselves and those around them at greater risk of vaccine-preventable diseases,” Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said during a news conference.
Koh cited an example in 2011, when approximately 37,000 cases of pneumococcal pneumonia resulting in 4,000 deaths could have been prevented if more adults had kept up to date with recommended vaccinations.
“We have initial data that over 9,300 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) have been seen in adults in 2012 and nearly 42,000 cases in total, and that’s the highest number we’ve seen in this country in a single year since 1955,” Koh said.
Meanwhile, the report says the number of women 19 to 26 who have been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus has been increasing. The HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer and other diseases caused by the virus – and the CDC recommends that women get three doses of the vaccine by the time they reach 26.
The herpes zoster vaccine, which adults are also recommended to get, protects against shingles, which is caused by the same virus as chickenpox.
The vaccines findings were published Jan. 29 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.