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Officials urge more adult vaccinations

October 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's that time of year to start rolling up your sleeves for a flu shot, but that's probably not the only shot you need. The CDC says only two percent of adults have the required immunizations to stave off disease. If you haven't been to the emergency room lately chances are you're way behind on your regular tetanus shot.

"And the usual recommendation there is every ten years," said internist Dr. John de Beixedon.

Dr. John de Beixedon says few of his patients ever keep track and people with chronic diseases need to keep up.

"If someone has diabetes, or if they have had a cancer and have been on chemotherapy or have HIV, it is very important to be vaccinated against the common things," said Dr. de Beixedon.

New vaccines are now available, so for adults 19 and older the recommended schedule includes: tetanus and diptheria, the human papiloma virus for females up to 26-years-old and a measles mumps and rubella booster for folks over 50.

"You can do a blood titer and find out if you still have an immunity to measles, mumps or rubella revaccinate. And it you don't have an immunity, revaccinate," said Dr. de Beixedon.

Another childhood vaccination you should ask about: chicken pox.

"If you had chicken pox as a child though, seven percent of the people who've had chicken pox can get it again anyway. People always think if you have had it once that is it, but seven percent of the time people get chicken pox again," said Dr. de Beixedon.

Doctors recommend two doses of chicken pox, an annual flu shot and two or three doses of the pneumococcal vaccine.

"Pneumoccocal pneumonia is about 50 percent of pneumonias," said Dr. de Beixedon.

Also on the list: a meningitis shot. And a shingles vaccine which can prevent half of cases. Although hepatitis A and B are listed, Dr. de Beixedon only recommends them if you travel to Third World countries and you're sexually active.

"Hepatitis B is only required for people with multiple sexual partners, or using IV drugs or who are coming into contact with blood," said Dr. de Beixedon.

Talk to your doctor and if you can't remember what shots you've had.

"For most things you can be safely revaccinated," said Dr. de Beixedon.

Experts say the average American moves once every five years -- a good reason to keep your vaccination records current.

 

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