There are at least two things in life you're never too old to do: Get sick and get vaccinated to prevent getting sick.
That's why Gov. Norm Bangerter has proclaimed the week of Oct. 22-26 as "Adult Immunization Week.""Immunizations aren't just for kids," said Rick Crankshaw, manager of the Utah Department of Health's Immunization Program. "For adults and older adolescents there are safe and effective vaccines available which can prevent serious diseases including influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria, measles, and rubella."
Nationally 20,000 influenza-associated and 40,000 pneumococcal deaths occur annually, Crankshaw said. Additionally, more than 300,000 cases of hepatitis B cases are reported each year. The disease primarily affects persons from 15 to 29 years of age, and accounts for some 5,000 deaths annually.
Crankshaw said from 1985-87, more than 90 percent of tetanus cases nationally and 80 percent of diphtheria cases occurred in persons older than age 20. In 1987, persons older than 15 accounted for 43 percent of reported measles cases.
Utah statistics mirror the national figures.
During the 1989-90 influenza season, there were 1,195 reported cases. In 1988, influenza and pneumonia accounted for 404 deaths among Utah adults and adolescents.
The Health Department is urging Utah adults to contact their doctor or local immunization clinic to determine which vaccinations they may need. Call your local health department or the Utah Department of Health, 538-6191.