The federal government wants more Americans to get their vaccinations - not just kids, but grown-ups too.
"Despite the continuing occurrence of vaccine-preventable diseases among adults in the United States, safe and effective vaccines recommended for adults are not optimally used," the Centers for Disease Control reported Thursday.Examples cited by the CDC in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report:
-While influenza vaccine is about 75 percent effective in reducing deaths in high-risk older people, a 1987 survey found just 32 percent of adults over 65 had taken flu shots.
-Five states had large college-based measles outbreaks in 1989; only one had a pre-enrollment immunization requirement for students.
-Health care workers get between 6,000 and 8,000 new hepatitis B infections each year. But in 1988, only 19 percent of U.S. and Canadian medical schools required hepatitis B vaccinations.
-Pneumococcal vaccine is more than 60 percent effective in preventing invasive pneumococcal infections, which cause as much as one-fourth of all pneumonia cases and 40,000 deaths a year. But a 1985 study concluded only 10 percent of high-risk people got the shots.
Between 1985-89, adults made up 92 percent of the nation's tetanus patients, 87 percent of hepatitis B patients and 45 percent of rubella patients; all are vaccine-preventable diseases, the CDC said.