SALT LAKE CITY — Vaccines aren't just for kids. Recent studies show adults aren't getting the immunization coverage they need to stay healthy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a comprehensive vaccination plan based on age and susceptibility for all adults. However, a low number of adults are getting the non-flu vaccines they need, and state officials are working to correct that problem in Utah.
According to data collected by the National Health Interview Survey, there has been an increase in the number of adults getting their Tdap and pneumococcal vaccines, but the numbers still aren't where officials would like them to be.
In 2011, 63.9 percent of adults ages 19 to 49 received the Tdap vaccine. Numbers were similar for adults 50 to 65 years old and older, but never went above 64 percent.
"A lot of times, adults do not consider vaccines as part of their routine health care," said Rebecca Ward, Utah Department of Health educator.
While children have regularly scheduled visits for vaccinations, many adults don't, and therefore don't get the immunization coverage they need for common vaccinations, Ward added.
When someone doesn't get a vaccination, it can put others at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases, like hepatitis, HPV, tetanus and pneumonia.
"If an adult receives the influenza vaccination, or the Tdap vaccine, that is also going to protect those who can't be vaccinated," Ward said.
Oftentimes adults don't understand the importance of vaccines, Ward said, and that's why the Utah Department of Health is working to get the word out on the need for vaccinations.
"In the past few years, we have encouraged adults to become vaccinated," Ward said. "We have actually created public awareness campaigns to make people more aware that these vaccinations are necessary."
For information on immunizations and where to get vaccinated, visit immunize-utah.org.