Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why Don't Adults Get Vaccinated?

It's kind of depressing to keep reading about how our healthcare system fails to do the basic preventive tests and interventions that doctors and researchers know that can keep us healthy and lead productive lives. Here's another example in Time magazine's article Why Don't Adults Get Vaccinated?

A survey of 7000 adults found that most could only name the flu vaccine and that the hepatitis A, B, the shingles vaccine, the pneumococcal vaccine, the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine, weren't mentioned as easily.

Excerpts from the article:
  • Just 2% of adults have had the new combo shot for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (better known as whooping cough), even though pertussis rates in adolescents and adults have soared in the last 20 years. The disease, a major child killer before the childhood vaccine was introduced, can cause coughing so forceful it breaks a patient's ribs or leaves him vomiting.
  • Despite clamorous public debate and high-profile media coverage about the first cancer vaccine, which protects against the human papilloma virus, only about 10% of young women reported receiving at least one dose of the three-dose vaccine.
  • Vaccines should be a cornerstone of preventive medicine. "They can prevent serious illness and death. They can save money and help keep us healthy, and at work and able to take care of our families, says Schuchat, who is also director for the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "We obviously have a lot of work to do and it involves literally rolling up our sleeves."
What perhaps is more disturbing is that many adults aren't vaccinating their children.

These reports only illustrate the increasing importance that you must take charge of your health and ask and even demand preventive tests and interventions you need to stay healthy and live longer as it is clear that our healthcare system won't do it for you.

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