Shortly before being discharged after giving birth to my second daughter, a hospital nurse glanced at my chart and asked if I was up to date on my vaccinations. I couldn’t remember having gotten a tetanus shot as an adult, I told her, so I probably did need one. (“Will it hurt?” I asked as she approached my arm with the needle, and she just laughed. Not compared to having a baby was her – totally accurate – answer.)
If it wasn’t for this attentive nurse, I probably wouldn’t be up to date on my DTaP - which is why I wasn’t at all surprised to hear of a new CDC report on non-influenza vaccination coverage among adults. According to the report, a large chunk of Americans fail to get recommended vaccines. In 2011, just over 64 percent of adults aged 19–49 years had received a tetanus vaccination in the last 10 years, for example. And only around 16 percent of adults over the age of 60 reported having gotten a herpes zoster vaccination to prevent shingles – something that is recommended for this group by the CDC.
Calling the vaccination coverage levels among adults “unacceptably low,” the report goes on to outline components of a successful vaccine program that could boost these rates.