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Posts Tagged ‘vaccines for adults’

Shingles Vaccine is the Silver Lining of Turning 50

April 19, 2018 7 comments

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Turning fifty is a milestone most people would rather avoid.  

Not me.  

After watching both my 73-year-old mother and my 18-year-old daughter suffer with shingles, I would do almost anything to avoid it. And last year, when a new and more effective shingles vaccines was licensed by the FDA, and recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for people age 50 and older, I began looking forward to my 50th birthday.

You see, now that I’ve witnessed shingles up close and personal, I am eager to prevent it and I feel compelled to encourage everyone to as well.  And here’s why…

Vaccination is the Only Way to Prevent Shingles

You can’t avoid shingles by washing your hands or avoiding sick individuals.  The only means of prevention is through vaccination.

That’s because shingles isn’t your typical contagion. It’s a virus, but not the kind that is spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing. It’s actually a virus (the herpes zoster virus), that is caused by another virus, (the varicella-zoster virus, more commonly known as chickenpox).

Over the past two years I’ve watched as both my mother and my daughter have suffered with shingles, and I’ve learned a few things along the way.   

Shingles Pain Is Excruciating, Debilitating and Can Be Long Lasting

ShinglesImageThe rash then developed into fluid-filled blisters that would break open, ooze out and eventually crust over.  She had to be careful to keep the rash covered and wash her hands frequently since she didn’t want to infect my newborn niece who was living in the same home at the time. Since my niece had not yet received her varicella vaccine, she was not immune to the virus and would be at risk of developing chickenpox.  As a premature infant, that could have been extremely dangerous for her.   Read more…

Immunization Funding is an Investment in Public Health that Saves Lives and Dollars

February 26, 2018 Leave a comment

ba3f8b28-e868-42b5-b217-1d8da24ffbd8For the past two decades, every President has proposed a fiscal budget that has underfunded immunization programming. Fortunately, over the years, Congress has been steadfast in approving higher amounts. As we approach another crossroad in our fiscal planning, we must, once again, call upon Congress to properly fund critical prevention programs.  

In the following Op Ed published in The Hill, Every Child By Two Executive Director, Amy Pisani, makes the case that Congress should support the CDC’s Immunization Program to the fullest extent possible. In order to truly effect change, the program requires $1.03 billion. While it may seem like a hefty sum, the argument in favor of full funding is that an investment in public health will save lives as well as future expense. 

 

Undercutting the Immunization Program

Puts Both Lives and Dollars at Risk

 

By Amy Pisani, executive director of Every Child By Two, a nonprofit organization committed to reducing the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases in families and individuals.

 

Earlier this month, President Trump released his proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget. It notes an impressive achievement: For every $1 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spends on preventing fraud and abuse, the agency saves $5.

Whenever you can spend money to save money in government, it’s a no brainer for policymakers. Unfortunately, that rationale seems to have escaped the President on the issue of vaccination.

For every $1 we spend on childhood vaccines, we save $10.10, which is nearly double the savings of preventing fraud. The vaccines given to children born over the past two decades will result in a savings of $360 billion in direct and nearly $1.65 trillion in societal costs.

The benefits don’t end with children. The U.S. still spends nearly $26.5 billion annually treating adults over the age of 50 for just four diseases that could be prevented by vaccines: influenza, pertussis, pneumococcal disease and shingles.

The majority of these avoidable costs are borne by federal health insurance programs. Yet for the second year in a row, the President has proposed gutting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Immunization Program.

This is not just a discussion of dollars saved. It’s also a matter of lives saved. Over the past 23 years the Vaccines for Children program has prevented 381 million illnesses, 855,000 early deaths and 25 million hospitalizations, but we have much more work to do.

(Click here to read the full article on The Hill)

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For information pertaining to the preparedness of our nation, and for suggestions on what we can do as a nation to make our country stronger and more resilient in the face of emerging health threats, review Vaccinate Your Family’s second annual State of the ImmUnion report here.   

Some Things You Outgrow as an Adult. Vaccines Aren’t One of Them.

August 17, 2017 1 comment

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Did you know that vaccines are recommended for people of all ages?

Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, the protection from some vaccines you received can wear off over time and you may need a booster. There also are specific vaccines that you may need as you get older based on your age, job, lifestyle, travel, or other health conditions.

Below are 5 reasons adults need vaccines:

 

1) Every year, thousands of adults in the U.S. suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, or even die from preventable diseases.

Much of this could be avoided if more adults received their recommended vaccines. While most adults recognize the need for childhood vaccinations, many adults simply don’t realize that vaccines are recommended to protect against diseases like whooping cough, hepatitis A and B, pneumococcal disease, shingles and influenza.

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that vaccination rates for adults are extremely low (National Health Interview Survey, 2014).

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Higher vaccination rates could help avoid the many cases of vaccine preventable diseases that adults suffer with each year.  For example, in 2015 there were about 27,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease and 3,300 deaths among adults. In 2016, there were more than 15,000 cases of whooping cough reported to the CDC.  Additionally, there are about 1 million cases of shingles and millions of cases of influenza that occur each year in the U.S.

2) Certain health conditions can put adults at greater risk of complications if they do get sick. 

As we go through life we’re often diagnosed with certain health conditions that put us at increased risk for complications from diseases such as pneumonia and influenza.  This includes conditions such as heart disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes. Even if we feel we have those conditions under control, it is best to get vaccinated to prevent an illness that can complicate these conditions and cause severe illness, hospitalization or even death.

3)  Adults are more likely to contract certain diseases.

As we age, we also become more likely to suffer with diseases such as shingles or pneumococcal disease.  That is why adults 65 and older are recommended to receive one or more pneumococcal vaccines, and those 60 years and older should get a shingles vaccine.

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Read more…

Answers to Your Most Common Questions about Adult Vaccines

August 3, 2016 2 comments

In recognition of National Immunization Awareness Month (#NIAM16), we will be discussing the importance of vaccines throughout the lifespan.  This week, our focus is on adult vaccines and the information below are responses the CDC has offered to some of the most common questions they receive on this topic.  NIAM_fb_timeline_adults

Why do adults need vaccines? 

Vaccines are recommended throughout your life. Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, you may be at risk for other diseases due to your age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health condition. In addition, the protection from some vaccines can wear off over time. All adults need vaccinations to protect against serious diseases that could result in severe illness requiring medical treatment or even hospitalization, missed work, and not being able to care for family.

Are vaccine-preventable diseases really a threat for adults? 

Every year, thousands of adults in the U.S. suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, and even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. Many of these diseases are common in the U.S. For example, in 2014, there were about 27,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease and 3,200 deaths among adults ages 19 and older. In addition, about 1 million cases of shingles and millions of cases of influenza occur each year in the U.S.

Older adults and adults with chronic health conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and diabetes are at higher risk of suffering complications from certain vaccine-preventable diseases like flu and pneumonia.

What vaccines do adults need? How often and when do they need them? 

btn-adultquiz-plain-160x600The vaccines a person needs are based on their age, medical conditions, occupation, vaccines they have received in the past, and other factors. Taking the CDC adult vaccine quiz is one way to find out which vaccines you might need. 

All persons 6 months of age and older are recommended to get the flu vaccine every year, with rare exception. Flu vaccination is especially important for those who are at high risk of serious flu-related complications, including adults 65 years and older, pregnant women and people with certain chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease. Also vaccination of caregivers of high risk persons is especially important to protect those who are at high risk.

Getting vaccinated against the flu while pregnant during any trimester decreases the risk of flu and flu-related illnesses for the mother and developing baby throughout the pregnancy and can protect the baby for several months after birth. This protection is crucial since children younger than 6 months old are too young to receive their own flu vaccine, and are at high risk of severe illness from flu.

All adults should get a one-time dose of Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) if they did not receive this vaccine as a preteen or teen. Whooping cough has been on the rise in recent years, and can be very serious, and even deadly for babies. All adults should receive a Td booster every 10 years to protect against tetanus and diphtheria. These two diseases are uncommon now because of vaccines, but they can be very serious.

Women are recommended to get a Tdap vaccine during the third trimester of every pregnancy to help protect themselves and their newborn babies against whooping cough. They should get Tdap during pregnancy even if they have had a prior Tdap shot.

Other vaccines you need as an adult are determined by factors such as age, lifestyle, job, health condition, and vaccines you’ve received in the past. Vaccines that may be recommended for you are vaccines that protect against shingles, pneumococcal disease, human papillomavirus (which can cause certain cancers), meningococcal disease, hepatitis A and B, chickenpox, and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

If you’re traveling abroad, you may need additional vaccines. Check the CDC travel website for more information on what you should do to prepare for travel based on where you are traveling.

Why haven’t I heard about adult vaccines before now?  

Read more…

The Best Gift Any Grandparent Can Give Their Grandchild is Good Health

December 22, 2015 1 comment

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 11.18.56 AMFor grandparents, giving is quite possibly the best part of the holiday season. When you gather with your kids and grandkids this holiday season it’s wonderful to share your homemade cookies and heartfelt gifts, but two things no one in your family should ever give to a loved one are influenza (flu) or whooping cough.

Most people have heard of the flu and understand how contagious it may be. However, many people might not know how serious it can be, particularly for young children and older adults who are at high risk for severe complications.  In fact, each year the flu causes an average of 200,000 hospitalizations, and thousands of deaths. Pertussis, which is also known as whooping cough, may not be as well-known as the flu; however, it is also a serious and highly contagious disease that affects the respiratory tract.   It can cause severe coughing fits that can last up to 10 weeks or more, and it spreads from person to person much like the cold and flu viruses — through coughing and sneezing. People of all ages can get whooping cough, but the disease is especially dangerous for infants and young children to whom it can cause severe and even life-threatening complications.

Sadly, about half of children under one year old who get whooping cough end up in the hospital and approximately 1 out of 100 infants hospitalized for whooping cough will die. Because the disease may be milder in adolescents and adults, many people may not realize they actually have whooping cough, and accidentally spread it to others. In fact, babies are most likely to catch whooping cough from a family member. One recent study of infants with whooping cough showed that approximately 85% of babies got the disease from a member of their immediate or extended family, when a source could be identified.

A simple solution to help keep your family healthy

No one likes to be sick during the holiday season, but thanks to the extra travel and large family get-togethers, someone always seems to fall ill. As a grandparent, you may take the normal precautions, such as frequently washing your hands and coughing and sneezing into a tissue, but these are not enough to stop the spread of the flu and whooping cough. Fortunately, there is something you can do to help prevent these diseases.

Talk to your healthcare provider about what vaccines you need to help keep yourself and your family members healthy.

Getting the word out

Despite the seriousness of both flu and whooping cough, the number of adults who get vaccinated against these diseases remains alarmingly low. While the CDC recommends everyone, especially those around babies get vaccinated against whooping cough, only 14 percent of adults 19 years and older, and 26 percent of adults living with an infant have had the recommended Tdap vaccination, and only 43.6 percent of adults were vaccinated against the flu last season.

“Grandparents are such an important part of their grandchildren’s lives,” says Amy Pisani, Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Every Child By Two. “That’s why it’s important that they speak to their healthcare providers about getting vaccinated against the flu and whooping cough. We want every grandparent to be able to play a happy, healthy, helpful role in their grandchildren’s development, for many years to come.”

To help raise awareness about the importance of timely vaccination for people of all ages, Every Child By Two has recently launched the Vaccinate Your Family program. The program includes a new website for the public – VaccinateYourFamily.org – and a number of new resources including the Grandparents Toolkit

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The toolkit, which was developed as part of a public health initiative with GSK, includes a number of materials including tips on how to soothe a fussy baby, ideas for the perfect baby shower, a guide to discussing whooping cough with your healthcare provider, and much more.

To learn more about influenza and whooping cough, and how you can help keep yourself and your family safe through vaccination, visit the Vaccinate Your Family web site and download the free toolkit.

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