Category Archives: Polk County Immunization Coalition

Some Things You Outgrow as an Adult. Vaccines Aren’t One of Them.

Source: Some Things You Outgrow as an Adult. Vaccines Aren’t One of Them.

Did you know that vaccines are recommended for people of all ages?

Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, the protection from some vaccines you received can wear off over time and you may need a booster. There also are specific vaccines that you may need as you get older based on your age, job, lifestyle, travel, or other health conditions.

Below are 5 reasons adults need vaccines:

1) Every year, thousands of adults in the U.S. suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, or even die from preventable diseases.

Much of this could be avoided if more adults received their recommended vaccines. While most adults recognize the need for childhood vaccinations, many adults simply don’t realize that vaccines are recommended to protect against diseases like whooping cough, hepatitis A and B, pneumococcal disease, shingles and influenza.

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that vaccination rates for adults are extremely low (National Health Interview Survey, 2014).


Higher vaccination rates could help avoid the many cases of vaccine preventable diseases that adults suffer with each year.  For example, in 2015 there were about 27,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease and 3,300 deaths among adults. In 2016, there were more than 15,000 cases of whooping cough reported to the CDC.  Additionally, there are about 1 million cases of shingles and millions of cases of influenza that occur each year in the U.S.

2) Certain health conditions can put adults at greater risk of complications if they do get sick. 

As we go through life we’re often diagnosed with certain health conditions that put us at increased risk for complications from diseases such as pneumonia and influenza.  This includes conditions such as heart disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes. Even if we feel we have those conditions under control, it is best to get vaccinated to prevent an illness that can complicate these conditions and cause severe illness, hospitalization or even death.

3)  Adults are more likely to contract certain diseases.

As we age, we also become more likely to suffer with diseases such as shingles or pneumococcal disease.  That is why adults 65 and older are recommended to receive one or more pneumococcal vaccines, and those 60 years and older should get a shingles vaccine.


Most adults today have suffered with chickenpox at some point in their childhoood, which means the zoster virus lies dormant in the roots of their nerves.  In some people, the virus “wakes up” many years later and causes a very painful rash known as shingles.  The severity of the rash varies but can last from 2 to 4 weeks.  It can also result in long lasting nerve pain after the rash clears. It’s estimated that 1 out of 3 people in the U.S. will develop shingles in their lifetime, resulting in about 1 million cases of shingles each year, but vaccination can help reduce some of this suffering.

The fact is that even healthy adults are hospitalized and die from preventable diseases every year.  That is why an annual flu vaccine is recommended for every adult, including those who are pregnant, to help prevent flu and flu related complications and hospitalizations.

Additionally, every adult should have at least one dose of Tdap vaccine (to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis or whooping cough).  Some adults may even need additional adult Tdap boosters if they get pregnant or have close contact with children.

Adults may need other vaccines (such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and HPV) depending on their age, occupation, travel, medical conditions, vaccinations they have already received, or other considerations.

4) Adults can easily spread diseases to others. 


Not only can otherwise healthy adults get sick, but when they do they risk spreading dangerous diseases to others – especially infants, young children, the elderly and people with chronic conditions or weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment). Unfortunately, these populations are not only more vulnerable to infectious diseases, but if they get sick they are also more likely to have severe illness and complications.

Consider pertussis, also known as whooping cough.  In an adult, this vaccine preventable disease may seem like a persistent cough and bad cold, whereas for a young infant, pertussis often results in hospitalization and even death.  By getting vaccinated, adults can protect themselves while also reducing the spread of diseases and helping to protect other vulnerable members of their family and community.

5) If adults don’t take responsibility for themselves, no one else will.

Adults have varied responsibilities and missing work or being unable to care for our families is something most adults just can’t afford to do.  Even for those adults who do realize they need additional vaccines, there are challenges to staying up-to-date. As adults, we tend to worry about day-to-day things and are busy caring for our families, so we don’t often think about preventive measures that can help keep us healthy. That’s why it’s critical for adults to talk to their doctor or other health care professional to learn more about which vaccines they may need based on their age, occupation, travel, health conditions, past vaccination status and other specific considerations.

Take the CDC’s adult vaccine quiz here to learn more about the vaccines you may need.  Then bring the customized printout with you to your next adult medical appointment to help discuss the vaccines you may need.



Polk County Immunization Workshop! November 4th – at Florida Poly.

We invite you to participate in our free, Annual Immunization Workshop on Saturday, November 4, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  The workshop will be held at the Florida Polytechnic University campus at 4700 Research Way, Lakeland, FL 33805.

 Keynote speakers:

  • Dr. Alix Casler (Orlando Health – Chief of Pediatrics)

Increasing HPV Vaccination Rates

  • Dr. Greg Savel (Myrtle Ave Pediatrics, Clearwater)

Reducing Vaccine Hesitancy – Increasing Coverage

  • Dr. Daniel Haight (USF/ Lakeland Regional Health)

Travel, Rabies and latest information on vaccine developments

CEUs for Nurses.  Refreshments.  Vendors and prizes.

Eventbrite - Polk County Immunization Coalition Immunization Workshop

Every Child By Two Parent Advocate Receives Childhood Immunization Champion Award

Immunizations can be a matter of life and death, as we learn from this family’s tragic story.

Shot of Prevention

Each year I look over the list of Childhood Immunization Champion Award winners and I am truly inspired.  During National Infant Immunization Week (April 18-25, 2015) the CDC and the CDC Foundation recognizes “Champions” from every state.  While the Champions are often public health professionals, doctors and nurses, being selected as a Champion isn’t just about doing your job.champ-awardBeing a Champion requires an extraordinary effort.  It’s about going above and beyond.  And it’s about promoting childhood immunizations in a way that exemplifies a commitment to change, even in the face of adversity or resistance.

IN-TornhoutThis year I’m proud to say that I know a true Champion, and she is a parent advocate just like many of you.  The truth is that Katie Van Tornhout didn’t need a formal award to be considered a Champion in my eyes, but I’m thrilled to know that her passion and commitment are being…

View original post 483 more words

Children who can’t be vaccinated have rights, too

What a graciously written article by a mother only motivated by the love of her child!


This post originally appeared in The Texas Tribune’s Trib Talk on March 23, 2015. 

Photo by Pan American Health Organization Photo by Pan American Health Organization

By Heather Cummings

In 2013 my daughter, Kiera, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Despite her illness, Kiera, who is 5 years old, is a normal kid who wants to do normal kid things. In fact, children with cystic fibrosis are in many ways healthy and normal. They play sports, ride their bikes, have sleepovers and go to school.

But unlike most other children, their health is fragile, and illnesses, particularly serious infections, pose a substantially greater risk to their health.

Like all parents, my husband and I would do anything to protect our child from danger or harm. And while we may want to shelter Kiera from the dangers of the world, we know we can’t protect her from every potential risk.

But I take my responsibility to protect my…

View original post 482 more words

I’m a Pediatrician and I Gave My Daughter Pertussis

What an excellent article!!

Shot of Prevention

By, Rebecca Bakke MD, FAAP

As a pediatrician, I am often asked the question, “What would you do if she was your child?”

I B (32)always try to answer this question as honestly as I can.  Sometimes, when the answer is not very straightforward, l can say sincerely, “I don’t know. “ Other times, such as when parents have concerns about immunizations, the answer is easy.

Vaccination is one of the most polarizing issues in our country, and because I immunize infants and children every single day at work, the controversy frequently makes its way into my office. Anxious first-time parents cradle their newborn babies while nervously reviewing the vaccine schedule, then look up at me and ask what I think about delaying vaccines, trying an alternate vaccine schedule or forgoing them all together.

What would you do if she was your child?” 

Parents are not usually surprised when…

View original post 868 more words

Amanda Peet Encourages Vaccines During Pregnancy to Protect Infants

Shot of Prevention

Photo Credit: FayesVision / WENN Amanda and her husband welcomed their third child, Henry, back in December, 2014.  Photo Credit: FayesVision / WENN

Being a mom to Molly and Frankie is, without a doubt, the most rewarding role I’ve ever had.  As we prepared to welcome another baby into our home this fall, I was reminded of just how fragile and precious a newborn can be.

In recent interviews with Fox News and CNN, I shared my concerns over the growing number of unvaccinated children in the area where we live. It frightens me to think that my baby may possibly be exposed to a dangerous and life-threatening disease before he is old enough to be vaccinated himself. It seems unfair that while I do everything in my power to protect this delicate new life, others are making a choice that puts my child at serious risk.

I have real reason to worry. When…

View original post 663 more words