Not Vaccinating Puts At Risk Not Only the Individual but Their Loved Ones Too
To mark National Immunization Awareness Month in August, the Allegheny County Health Department is joining with the Allegheny County Immunization Coalition to remind everyone that vaccinations keep infants, children, teens, adults and senior citizens healthy across the lifespan.
“Diseases that once killed and disabled millions of Americans can be prevented, but only if everyone is up to date with the vaccinations needed to keep themselves, their loved ones and our entire community healthy and protected,” said Acting Health Director Dr. Ron Voorhees.
While most vaccines are given in the first six years of life, a number of others are strongly recommended for adolescents, adults and the elderly but unlike younger children these groups are much less likely to keep their vaccinations up to date.
Less than 6% of adults nationally have been vaccinated against pertussis or whooping cough and such a low vaccination rate not only puts them at risk but also endangers infants too young to be immunized who might catch the disease from them.
The shingles vaccine is recommended for adults 60 years old and older but very few in that age group have received the immunization since it became available in 2006.
The HPV vaccine, which protects against the human papillomavirus that is the main cause of cervical cancer, is recommended for females and males from 9 to 26 years of age but very few of them have been immunized since the vaccine was licensed in 2006.
Longer-established adult vaccines that still remain well below 100% coverage provide protection against several other diseases such as influenza, pneumonia, tetanus and diphtheria.
Health officials also remind parents to make sure children are caught up with vaccines required for students in grades K-12 and have proof of vaccination for the upcoming school year.
Please check with your health care provider or contact the Health Department at 412-687-ACHD or www.achd.net to keep yourself up to date with your vaccinations.