MDCH Reminds Adults That Vaccines Aren't Just For Babies

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

While many Michigan adults are making sure their child's immunizations are up to date for the new school year, it's a good time for them to review their own immunization status as well. Whooping cough has been on the rise in recent years in the U.S. and in Michigan, and recently, Michigan has had three adult cases of tetanus reported by hospitals. Immunization is a lifelong process, and it's important that adults of all ages get vaccinated against serious diseases, such as flu, measles, tetanus, and whooping cough, to name a few.

"Vaccinations can protect adults from many preventable diseases, but too many Michigan adults are under-vaccinated," said Dr. Dean Sienko, Interim Chief Medical Executive for Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). "It is important to remember that vaccinations aren't just for kids so as families get their children ready to head back to school, now is the perfect time for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to talk to their providers about protecting everyone's health in the household."

Whooping cough has been on the rise in recent years in the U.S. and in Michigan. People 13-64 who have not yet received Tdap should be vaccinated at their next healthcare visit. Those 65 years or older should receive Tdap vaccine if they are living with or caring for infants under 12 months of age. It is especially important that those in contact with infants get vaccinated against whooping cough, including pregnant women, new parents, siblings, grandparents, day care and child care workers, and health care personnel.

Measles, a highly contagious disease, is also on the rise in the U.S. and Internationally. Some adults who haven't received MMR vaccine should get immunized right away. It is especially important that persons planning international travel are vaccinated against measles, as many of the cases throughout the U.S. have been brought in from other countries.

In January, the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) updated its recommendations on the meningococcal vaccine, based on new data. Teens now need a booster dose at 16-18 years of age and college students 19-21 years of age who haven't received meningococcal vaccine in the past five years should now be given a dose of meningococcal vaccine. Other adults may need meningitis vaccine, too. It is important for adults to talk to their health care provider about all of the vaccines they need to stay healthy.

Adults should check to make sure if they need to be vaccinated against other diseases such as shingles, pneumococcal disease, varicella (chickenpox), human papillomavirus, and hepatitis A and B. Further, the flu season will soon be upon us, and the seasonal flu vaccine is now recommended for everyone, every year. The single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated. Flu vaccine can be given throughout the fall and into the winter and spring months.

Vaccinating adults protects infants and children, seniors, and individuals with weakened immune systems. Now is a great time for adults to talk to their health care provider about vaccines for the entire family. Protection from preventable diseases is just as important to adults as it is for children. For information about vaccines adults need, visit www.adultvaccination.org.

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