Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - 31

PROTECTING THOSE
AROUND YOU

Getting immunized doesn't just help
your own health. It also helps those
around you.
"Vaccinations are very important to
protect yourself as well as to protect
your family members and vulnerable
people," Parker Fiebelkorn says.
Adults must stay up on their shots to
safeguard people who can't get them,
such as infants who are too young for
immunizations and those with compromised immune systems. The latter
group includes people with cancer and
those who have had organ transplants.
Keeping current on vaccinations as
an adult helps build what the public
health community calls herd immunity, Parker Fiebelkorn says.
"Herd immunity is when enough
people are vaccinated against a disease that it protects the broader community," she says. "When enough
people around the unvaccinated
are vaccinated, it basically provides a barrier of protection for the
whole community."

BUILDING
AWARENESS

If there are so many good reasons
to be vaccinated, why aren't more
adults doing it? Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of
Immunization Managers, says there's
a strong infrastructure for childhood
immunization but nothing similar
for adults.
Public health systems include programs to make sure children are getting vaccinated effectively-from
maintaining a database of providers
to ensuring that providers are storing

vaccines properly-but "we really don't
have those systems in place for adults,"
Hannan says.
State programs are steadily improving
by educating people and working with
providers to establish processes that
will improve adult immunization rates,
she says.
She adds, "Adults need to realize they
need to assess their own vaccinations
and get vaccinated, just like they do for
their kids." ■

Stay up on your
shots to safeguard
people who can't
get them, such as

infants.

LEFT PHOTO BY GETTY/ PETER DAZELEY; RIGHT PHOTO BY GLOW IMAGES

SPECIAL SITUATIONS
Some people's circumstances require additional vaccinations. Healthcare workers,
people with health conditions and those
traveling to certain international locations
might require specific immunizations.
And for women who are pregnant or
people with specific health circumstances,
the recommendations for vaccinations
may be different than for the general
population, says Walter A. Orenstein, MD,
president of the National Foundation for
Infectious Diseases. This group includes
people with HIV, those with kidney failure
and those with diabetes.
Why the special care? Those with
chronic conditions might not be able to

handle the same infections that healthy
people can easily shake off; underlying
conditions make those people more vulnerable to disease and its complications. For
example, people with chronic lung disease
are at high risk of complications if they
get influenza or pneumonia. Because their
lungs are already compromised, "getting an
infection on top of it may push them over
the edge," Orenstein says.
People traveling to countries in the
developing world should be vaccinated
against hepatitis A, if they have not been,
Orenstein says. And those planning to visit
countries where yellow fever is an issue
should be vaccinated against that.

"Vaccination is not just a kids' thing,"
Orenstein says. "Unfortunately, many
adults die from preventable disease or are
hospitalized, which could have been prevented if they had been vaccinated."

QUIZ

Get Up to Date
Find out what vaccines you
need at www2.cdc.gov/nip/
adultimmsched.

WINTE R 2017

31


http://www2.cdc.gov/nip/adultimmsched http://www2.cdc.gov/nip/adultimmsched

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Contents
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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover3
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover4
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