Get Serious About Getting a Shot

It's something we don't think about much.  After all, we were vaccinated for measles and mumps and chicken pox years and years ago.

But a new study is finding that millions of Americans are not getting vaccinated against whooping cough (which can kill newborns), tetanus, shingles, and other diseases, according to Jennifer Brown at the Denver Post.

Just 14 percent of adults 19 and older are vaccinated against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. Only 20 percent age 60 and older received the shingles vaccination, and only about 35 percent of women ages 19 to 26 are immunized against HPV, or human papillomavirus, she writes.

The low vaccination rates are leading to outbreaks, CDC officials have said, Brown points out. More than 48,000 cases of whooping cough, for example, were reported in 2012 — more than any other year since 1955. The illness, named after its excessive coughing that ends in a whooping noise, costs far more to treat than the vaccine costs-- $2,000 vs. a few dollars per vaccine dose.

So why aren't we doing it?  Takes too much time?  Too busy?  It's just not convenient to run to the doctor's office for a shot?  

I admit I was unsure about having my 12 (almost 13-)-year-old son get the HPV vaccination. But I did it anyway, because I trust my pediatrician, and I had the virus in my 20s, and there was some concern about malignancies.  Fortunately, everything wound up fine.

But why are we so reluctant?  Is it because we're so sure medicine can cure us of anything these days?  (Two-time cancer survivor: not).

There's been all the worry about the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine and autism, and my own son ran a high fever after getting it.  But even though studies have proven there's no reality to the concern, many parents are still avoiding it.  (Don't know how their kids get into school since you have to provide evidence of vaccinations.)

The really scary thing is that, because so many are not getting vaccinated today, it's as the CDC says.  Outbreaks are coming.  When people start dying, maybe then we'll get serious about getting a shot.  

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