L50 — December 2011 — Vital Vaccinations
Intro: A top priority this time of year should be getting your flu shot. Vaccines, they've all but wiped out terrible diseases like polio and measles in the United States. But that success has made many wonder if they should bother to be vaccinated against them anymore. The resounding answer from Mayo Clinic is yes. Dennis Douda tells us why, in Medical Edge.
The ability to vaccinate against disease is heralded as one of the greatest medical advances of modern civilization.
Hand-washing before surgery and clean water supply — it really ranks right up there.
Dr. Robert Jacobson is medical director of Mayo Clinic's Community Health Immunization Program. He says we may be surprised to learn getting vaccinated is largely voluntary.
There are, for civilians, no federal or national requirements for vaccination. When you hear about mandates or requirements, you're actually referring to school, day care and college rules.
In the U-S, a group of scientists and physicians, called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, recommends which vaccines will do us the most good from infancy through old age.
Now, what's on that list? We have measles, mumps and rubella, of course, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, flu vaccine, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, the meningococcal vaccines. We have hepatitis A, hepatitis B.
Dr. Jacobson says while studies have proven there is no link between autism and vaccines, some parents still have concerns.
And that question mark that has been raised has been harmful enough to cause some families to choose not to get vaccinated and have left their children and, frankly, members of their community at risk for measles.
Lax attitudes about vaccination allowed a measles epidemic to explode in France, with 14-thousand cases in the first six months this year.
Ah, frankly, across Europe 33 countries are now suffering outbreaks of measles.
And, finally, adults need to stay up to date as well. Only 40 percent get their recommended flu shot. Chickenpox and mumps can have devastating consequences, and …
Every adult should have, by now, received a dose of diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis.
Yet, Dr. Jacobson says only 6 percent of adults have received that shot.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivian Williams.
Dr. Jacobson advises those over age 60 to get a zoster (ZOHS-tur) vaccination to protect against shingles and those over 65 to ask their doctor about a pneumonia vaccination. Anyone traveling internationally should check to see if immunizations are required to enter the countries they'll be visiting. In a future Medical Edge, we'll talk about the HPV vaccine to ward off the sexually transmitted virus that causes certain deadly cancers.
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