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Jan 15, 2016

Adults Need To Be Vaccinated, Too

Sponsored Content provided by John Devaney - Chief Executive Officer, Cape Fear Clinic

No doubt you have heard the dialogue surrounding the medical benefits of kids being vaccinated. But did you know that adults need vaccinations, too? This important medical need doesn’t stop after the age of 13. Ongoing vaccinations and boosters are required for the entire population. If you have grandkids, this is especially important as you don’t want to be an undiagnosed carrier.

This year, the CDC released a report stating that vaccination rates are dangerously low among adults. Only 60 percent of seniors received the pneumococcal vaccination, just over 50 percent of adults received a tetanus vaccine, and only a mere 24 percent of people over the age of 60 were vaccinated against shingles. 

This is scary to us, as we know that preventable diseases have seen a resurgence, particularly in recent years. The Council for Foreign Relations keeps an updated, interactive map showing occurrences of vaccine-preventable outbreaks of diseases. 

The thing that most adults don’t acknowledge is that simply because they are healthy today doesn’t mean they aren’t susceptible to diseases like shingles, pneumonia, and even measles. Most adults don’t realize that when they skip vaccines, they leave themselves vulnerable to illnesses such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B, both of which can lead to cancer. (source)

Something as simple as contracting influenza (the flu), which adults can fully recover from, can average 15 days of illness and recovery, with up to eight days of missed work. At its worst, however, influenza can lead to serious illness, hospitalization, and death. According to the North Carolina Weekly Influenza Surveillance Study, “the highest number of acute respiratory admissions was reported among patients age 25-64 years followed by age 65 and over” for much of the flu season. (source

Do these statistics concern you? They’re very concerning to us, too.

But at the Cape Fear Clinic, we have been working hard to do something about it. We want to keep our region vaccinated and safe, which is why we are working so hard to increase the vaccination rates in our community.

According to Dr. Jennifer Buxton, Chief Pharmacy Officer at CFC, “Vaccinations are the best protection we have against a number of infectious diseases.  We know they can prevent disease, hospitalization, and even death.  In fact, due to ‘herd immunity,’ not only do vaccinations protect the person receiving the vaccine, but also those around them, which is critical for maintaining a healthy community.”

The CDC has provided a list of recommended vaccinations adults should have that we at CFC advocate:

In our work at CFC, we see residents every day who struggle with health issues and it reminds us that prevention can be the best health care approach an adult can take for themselves. Be sure that you are up to date on your vaccines as you enter 2016. Unsure which vaccines you need? Consult your doctor or pharmacist as to which vaccines are appropriate for you. Keep in mind that your needs as well as national vaccination guidelines may change. Many adult vaccines can even be given by your pharmacist without a prescription in North Carolina.

Cape Fear Clinic, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, was founded in 1991 as Tileston Health Clinic, Inc. and provides health care to those in our community who would otherwise be unable to access care. The clinic serves charitable patients who do not have health insurance and have incomes of no more than 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines, and those with Medicaid. For more information please visit capefearclinic.org or contact us at (910) 343-8736.
 

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