Vaccines: The end of preventable disease

Posted on March 9, 2012

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Most children receive the proper vaccinations that they need for general health: Our society stresses the importance of childhood vaccinations, especially through enforced measures like restricting school admittance. Adult vaccination rates, on the other hand, are much lower. Older adults are especially susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases, like Herpes Zoster (shingles), Influenza (flu), and Diphtheria. Adult populations like parents and seniors – particularly those of Hispanic and African American origin – have problematically low rates of vaccinations, which increases the rate at which they contract preventable and sometimes even fatal diseases. Economic and racial disparities in vaccination rates are widespread.

One of the primary reasons that adults get fewer vaccinations is because many Americans lack health insurance. In order to minimize the disparities and improve the health of underserved, individuals should ask their healthcare providers for information about vaccination programs. New information about which recommended vaccines are most important is frequently updated and available for the general public. For updated vaccine schedules by the Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices (ACIP) you can refer here.

It is also important to recognize your own role in perpetuating the cycle of disease. Healthcare providers will educate you about recommended vaccines, but relying on someone else is not enough. You should actively seek information about vaccines for yourself and your family in order to protect against these preventable diseases. If you do not have access to a healthcare provider, the Mayor’s Health Line can be used as a resource to help you get the information you are looking for and refer you to someone that fits your vaccine needs!

For more information contact the Mayor’s Health Line (1-617-635-4500).

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