Adults Are Skipping Vaccines, But Shouldn't

Adults Are Skipping Vaccines, But Shouldn't

Here’s why you should stay up to date with your shots, no matter your age

Maybe you're faithful about getting your flu shot each fall. But did you know there are other shots adults need to stay healthy? According to a 2017 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adult vaccination rates remain dismally low, including:

  • 31.7 percent for Tdap in adults over 19
  • 24.5 percent for the pneumococcal vaccination in adults 19 to 64

This is scary because these vaccines protect against serious, sometimes deadly germs that are very easy to catch. For example, there were nearly 50,000 cases of whooping cough in 2012, the most recent peak year, including 20 deaths. Whooping cough can be prevented with the Tdap vaccine.

And what about the flu shot? That rate isn't much better. An estimated 37 percent of adults 18 and over were vaccinated during the 2017-18 season, according to the CDC.

3 simple steps all adults should take:

  1. Don't fall for vaccine mythsVaccines do not make you sick and they don’t cause autism.
  2. Know which shots you need—and get them. Not everyone needs the same shots. The recommendations for teens and adults are based on a number of things, including your age, medical history and overall health. To see which shots you may need, take the CDC's vaccine quiz. Print your results and share them with your doctor at your next checkup. Or stop by a local drugstore and talk with the pharmacist.
  3. Spread the word. Help protect the ones you love by encouraging your friends and family members to keep up with their shots, as well.

Have questions about which vaccines are right for you? Always talk to your healthcare provider.

Medically reviewed in June 2019. Updated in August 2019.

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