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HEALTHLINE NEWS

Americans Still Skipping Out on Helpful Vaccines

CDC officials released new guidelines for vaccinations while they note a significant percentage of U.S. adults are not getting recommended inoculations.

americans skipping vaccinations

Nobody likes getting stuck by a needle, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says we should get used to it.

Agency officials recently unveiled an advisory for adult vaccinations, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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The new guidance eliminates the nasal flu shot due to inefficacy, but recommends most other flu vaccines as they’re effective in people with egg allergies.

The CDC has also revised its recommendations for hepatitis B, HIV, and meningococcal disease vaccinations — as well as 10 other conditions.

Another significant update: Children who receive their first human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine before they turn 15, and get the second dose within five months, only need those two doses instead of three.

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Read more: Researchers closer to HIV vaccine than ever before »

Why don’t we get our shots?

On the whole, adults in the United States are not getting vaccinated as much as they should, according to the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which wrote the report.

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Only 20 percent of adults over the age of 19 have had an updated Tdap vaccine, which guards against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).

About 44 percent of adults the same age has had a flu shot.

And 20 percent of those ages 19 to 64 who were at risk for pneumonia had the pneumococcal vaccine, while 60 percent of those over the age of 65 had gotten it, the report stated.

U.S. vaccination rates
  • 44 percent of adults had flu shots
  • 20 percent of adults have updated Tdap vaccine

One barrier to getting vaccinated is insurance, Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, a general internist in Atlanta and American College of Physicians’ liaison to the ACIP, who served with the vaccine work group, told CBS.

She said that insured Americans are two to five times more likely to receive their vaccines. Misconceptions about vaccines can also cause people — especially parents — to question or avoid them.

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Dr. Michael Brady, the associate medical director at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and member of the hospital’s Division of Infectious Diseases, told Healthline that many parents avoid having their children vaccinated because they hear inaccurate reports about side effects.

“The common theme is that ‘someone’ has told them about their child or even a friend or relative’s child that had a terrible response after getting a vaccine. Then if they go to the internet, there is so much inaccurate information, that it compounds the problem,” Brady explained.

Read more: Antivaccination movement causes a deadly year in the US »

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Flu season significant

One vaccine parents may have their families skip is the flu shot.

In past years, reports have emerged that the shots weren’t effective, or even caused the flu.

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“Most of the time, the illness that they got was not influenza but rather a different, but less serious, respiratory or gastrointestinal virus,” Brady noted.

Although some people get the flu after getting the vaccine, it reduces overall numbers and makes the virus less severe, he added.

We are in the midst of a significant flu season where pediatric hospitalizations and deaths are mounting. In New York, CBS reported there were four child deaths from the flu this year — the same number as reported in Ohio.

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From Jan. 29 to Feb. 4 of this year, the CDC reports that five children died from the flu. As of earlier this week, 20 children had died nationally according to the CDC.

Brady believes that pediatricians do a good job of promoting vaccines, but adult providers are “not quite as used to incorporating vaccine recommendations into their general adult well-patient visits” though they are getting better.

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Read more: New school year, new flu shot recommendations »

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