Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said Tuesday that vaccination coverage levels in U.S. adults were “unacceptably low,” and that public health workers need to do more to make sure adults got immunizations to protect them from diseases including whooping cough, shingles and pneumonia.
The team, writing in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, updated statistics on vaccine coverage for those diseases as well as cervical cancer, hepatitis A and B and other preventable illnesses.
There were “modest gains” in coverage for the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) and HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccines, said CDC researcher and study co-author Dr. Carolyn Bridges during a phone call with reporters. Nearly 13% of people 19 to 64 years old reported receiving a Tdap vaccine in 2011, which was an increase of almost four percentage points from the previous year, she said; the number of adults living with an infant under a year old who received the vaccine was up around 11 points to 22%. Pertussis is particularly dangerous in infants.
Regarding HPV vaccination, adult women are advised to complete a series of three injections by age 26. Thirty percent of women ages 19 to 26 had received one or more doses of that vaccine in 2011, up from 21% in 2010. (In 2011, health officials added men up to the age of 21 to the list of people advised to get the vaccine, but the effects of that change aren’t available in the current data, which was collected in the 2011 National Health Interview Survey.)