Immunization doesn’t stop at childhood. Every year, a large population of adults in the United States suffers from serious health conditions often resulting in hospitalization. Some conditions that were not given early interventions resulted in a lower prognosis or even death.
Diseases such as influenza, pneumonia, hepatitis A, shingles, and whooping cough can be prevented with early vaccination. Certain cancers such as cervical cancer may also be prevented through vaccination.
The number of adults immunized is low. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) showed that only 15.8% of the entire adult population in the U.S did not receive shingles vaccine. Vaccines are important for adults 60 years old and above. Only about 1/3 of the female populations with ages ranging from 19 to 26 years old could get HPV vaccine. HPV vaccine is a good preventive measure to fight against cervical cancer. Company human resources may want to look into this in the workplace.
So why are the adults not taking steps to take vaccinations? Education is the key. Good HR practices may include taking steps to help employees understand further why vaccination is needed.
Adults think vaccinations are only for the kids. Though many know of the benefits of yearly flu vaccine, there is still a percentage of adults are unaware of the need for these for their health. The National Foundation on Infectious Diseases did a survey last 2007 on adult immunization. Results showed about forty percent of the questioned population believed further immunizations are not required since they were already got it during childhood.
It is important to understand that some of these vaccinations wear out in time. This will leave your body susceptible to diseases that may become harmful if not treated. Take for example whooping cough. There are about 41,000 cases of this disease reported last 2012. DTaP whooping cough vaccine given to children will wear off as they mature in life hence the need for a booster dose.
Barriers to adult immunizationThe Trust for America’s Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Infectious Diseases Society of America noted four barriers to immunization among adults:
- Limited access to care
- Insurance coverage gaps
- Incapacity to pay for vaccines if not covered by their insurance
- Lack of interest by pharmaceutical companies to invest in research and development due to fewer incentives
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