American adults are falling miserably short in getting the vaccines recommended for them, according to the latest report from the CDC, with little or no improvements in recent years.
- Only 43 percent of adults got the flu vaccine during flu season.
- Only 20 percent of adults got the Tdap vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis during the past decade, as recommended.
- Only 28 percent of those ages 60 and older have gotten the shingles vaccine.
- Only 61 percent of people ages 65 and older have gotten the pneumococcal vaccine, as well as only 20 percent of younger high-risk people (such as those with diabetes, heart disease, or cancer).
- Only 40 percent of women ages 19 to 26 have gotten the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine to help prevent cervical and other cancers. Girls are supposed to get the vaccine starting at age 11.
- Only 9 percent have gotten the hepatitis A vaccine, and only 24 percent the hepatitis B vaccine. That’s only a small proportion of people in the groups the CDC advises to get these shots.
Many adults don’t get immunizations because they don’t realize how important they are or because they have misconceptions about their safety and efficacy. Some miss out because they don’t have regular health care providers or insurance, or because their providers are not diligent in providing the vaccines.
The CDC concluded that “coverage for all vaccines for adults remained low, and missed opportunities to vaccinate adults continued.” For guidance about vaccines, consult your health care provider. For a good reference, see the CDC's Recommended Immunizations for Adults By Age.
Also see Which Vaccines Are Essential?