LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – The need for vaccinations doe not end in childhood. Vaccines are recommended from infancy to adulthood based on age, lifestyle, occupations, travel destinations, medical conditions, and any vaccines received in the past. National Immunization Awareness Month was created to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all age groups. As the Southern Nevada Health District gears up for Back-to-School and the related rush in its immunization clinics, it encourages parents, caregivers, and people of all ages to make sure they’re up to date on the vaccines recommended for them.
“Immunizations are one of the greatest public health accomplishments. For children born between 1994 and 2016, vaccines will prevent 381 million illnesses and 24.5 million hospitilizations according to the CDC,” said Dr. Joseph Iser, Southern Nevada Health District Chief Health Officer. “Many of those illnesses continue to impact people around the world, including children. In the United States, we have seen clusters of pertussis, measles, or chickenpox. If we allow immunization rates to diminish here, we wil see many more cases. Many young parents have never seen these illnesses or their impact on babies. For example, chickenpox caused about 7,000 children to be hospitalized each year before the introduction of the vaccine,” Dr. Iser said.
–In 1921, more than 15,000 Americans died from diphtheria. Between 2004 and 2014, there were two cased reported to the CDC.
-In 1964-1965, a rubella epidemic (German measles) infected more than 12 million Americans. The disease caused 11,000 miscarriages and 2,000 babies died. Since 2012, there were 15 cases of rubella reported to the CDC.
-Polio paralyzed between 13,000 and 20,000 Americans each year before the introduction of an effective vaccine in 1955.
-Almost everyone contracted measles and hundreds died from the disease. Many of today’s doctors will not see a case during his/her practice.
When vaccination rates wane, diseases once thought to be eliminated can re-occur. There have been clusters of pertussis and measles cases in recent years. Many of the measles cases and clusters that have happened recently originated in people who were unvaccinated or the disease was imported following international travel. The fact that the United States has a high vaccination rate for the disease helped to prevent these measles clusters from becoming epidemics.
Adults should discuss their own immunization status with their health care providers at each visit especially if they’re travelling to areas where diseases still happen. The CDC recommends annual seasonal flu shots for everyone but especially people over 50, pneumonia shot for seniors, and the shingles vaccine for people age 60 and over.
Other immunizations for adults should include a dose of Tdap for their next tetanus shot because it contains a pertussis booster, hepatitis A and B immunizations, and the HPV vaccine for young women up to the age of 26. Adult immunizations are also important for parents and caregivers of infants who are too young to be vaccinated against diseases like pertussis.
The Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) offers childhood and adult immunizations at its public health facilities Monday-Friday. Contact the Health District’s immunization clinic at 702-759-0850 or visit http://www.SNHD.info for information about locations, hours, and costs.