More than 50,000 U.S. adults die each year from vaccine preventable diseases and their complications, more than breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, or motor vehicle accidents. However, vaccination rates remain low. Adult vaccinations can protect against illness, absenteeism from work, hospitalization, and even death.
The poor vaccination rates in adults are not only taking a toll on the country’s health; they are also impacting the bottom line. The estimated direct costs of treating just two of these diseases‐influenza and pneumonia in adults alone are over 35 billion dollars.
Vaccines are safe! The CDC estimates that for Americans born between 1994 and 2013 vaccines will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.
For adults it is particularly important that they receive all their vaccines. The immune system weakens as adults age. Older adults are more likely to develop complications from vaccine preventable diseases. Immunity from some vaccines can decrease over time, which means booster doses are necessary to maintain protection. Older adults are also much more likely to have chronic conditions which can increase the risk of complications from some infection.
Please make sure to talk to your provider about staying up to date on all your vaccines.
Dr. Rosenstock is the past president of the Infectious Diseases Society of Georgia. He previously spent eight years in the US Navy serving in the Republic of Panama and was awarded the meritorious service medal. An expert in tropical medicine, he previously served as the Medical Advisor to CARE, the relief organization and founded Peachtree Travel Clinic, one of the largest travel clinics in the southeastern United States. Dr. Rosenstock has been the Medical Director at AbsoluteCARE since its inception and has been providing care to patients infected with HIV since 1981.