Healthy Choices

California Medical Association pushes vaccinations for adults

The California Medical Association Foundation launched an adult vaccination campaign this week in an attempt to quell the spread of vaccine-preventable illnesses throughout the state.

Named “Community Immunity” after its intended goal, the campaign features an adult vaccine schedule listing each preventable disease, what vaccine is required, for what age group, and in how many doses. The printable, visually friendly poster also features a breakdown of each disease, how it spreads, and how the vaccine can combat it.

Unvaccinated adults, including adults whose childhood immunity may be waning, are at risk of catching these illnesses and are a danger to vulnerable residents such as infants and the elderly, said Dr. David Holley, CMA Foundation Chair.

A February report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that adult vaccination coverage for routine shots remains below the desired targets. About 63 percent of Americans report having received a tetanus shot during the past ten years, though the number is significantly lower in black, Hispanic and Asian communities. Only 24.2 percent of adults over 60 report receiving Herpes Zoster, the vaccine to prevent shingles.

Vaccination has been a hot topic across California as the state deals with the aftermath of a measles outbreak in Disneyland this December. There were 131 cases of confirmed measles in the state as of March 2nd, about 56 percent of which were in people over age 20, according to the California Department of Public Health. Measles is a highly contagious illness that can cause severe rash, fever, coughing and, in severe cases, death.

“Recent outbreaks of measles and pertussis (whooping cough) in California are critical reminders of the ongoing threat of vaccine-preventable illness and the importance of immunizations,” Holley said in a statement. “However the threat of these diseases is not limited to our children – adults are also susceptible to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease and are critical to achieving the community-wide immunity necessary to stop the spread of these diseases.”

The association will distribute its educational materials, which are adapted from those approved by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and other groups, electronically to physicians and patient advocates in coming weeks. Interested adults can find more information on the foundation’s website or by searching for the hash tag #communityimmunity.

Call The Bee’s Sammy Caiola, (916) 321-1636.

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