Adults Need Vaccines Too

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email

Bill Frazier is 79 years old. He sits in a relatively empty makeshift waiting room at the Ingham County Health Department on Monday for his latest vaccine.

"I'm getting the regular pneumonia shot. I didn't know how old I was getting. Time goes by fast," said Frazier.

It's been about 10 years since Frazier's last pneumonia shot, which is about average. He's in luck because there was a special adult immunization clinic on Monday at the health department. But many adults, Frazier's age and younger, don't stay current with their vaccines.

"People think when they get their immunizations as a kid that they're done," said Marcus Cheatham of the Ingham County Health Department. "They don't realize that things like Rubella, Pertussis --- you need boosters."

Chantelle Davis is one of those people. She brought in her daughter to get several shots for school but didn't see if she, herself is up to date.

"I don't feel like I need them. Well, I know I need them but I'm all up to date, I think," said Davis.

She didn't sound convincing and she wasn't convinced herself but she let it pass this time around.

It usually just takes a quick check from an online system to see if patients have all their shots. The Michigan Care System automatically knows what shots you're missing. Cheatham said more times than not, the adults will have their children checked out but will forget to check themselves.

Anne Grevstad came into the health department on Monday to get her pertussis, or whooping cough shot. She says her husband, who has asthma, is next.

"When I mention to people I'm going to get my whooping cough shot they say, 'Well, didn't you get that as a child?' And I say I think it expires after so many years."

It does expire. Many vaccines require booster shots. The Ingham County Health Department is recommending that all adults stay current with their vaccines. The critical ones on their list are: Pertussis, which has been on the rise and can be deadly to infants and young children, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer, Hepatits A and B, Pneumonia, Tetanus and Shingles. Some require boosters every 10 years.

"Contagious disease used to be the leading killer in adults and now it's not and the reason is because vaccines really work," said Cheatham.

But of course they only work if adults are willing to take them.

Vaccines are still being offered for little or no cost at the health department. For more information see the link below.

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