Tag: adult vaccines

What Percentage of Adults Are up to Date on Their Immunizations?

Are you up to date on your vaccines?

What about everyone else?

What Percentage of Adults Are up to Date on Their Immunizations?

Can you guess why this question comes up so often?

Yup.

There is no plan to force adults to get vaccinated...
There is no plan to force adults to get vaccinated…

It’s about herd immunity.

If most adults aren’t immune because they haven’t been vaccinated or don’t get boosters, then since we aren’t seeing that many outbreaks, herd immunity itself must be a myth.

The thing is though, adults were either born in the pre-vaccine era and likely earned their natural immunity or were born in the vaccine era and are vaccinated and immune.

It is also important to understand that herd immunity is disease specific, so when we talk about herd immunity for measles, it doesn’t matter if everyone has herd immunity levels of protection against hepatitis A or Hib.

And adults do get a few boosters and some vaccines that are only recommended for adults, including the shingles vaccine.

In addition, some vaccines, like Hib and Prevnar, have indirect effects, protecting adults even though they aren’t vaccinated, because vaccinated kids are less likely to become infectious.

But back to the original question, how many adults are up to date on their immunizations?

“While modest gains occurred in vaccination coverage for pneumococcal, Tdap, hepatitis A (persons with chronic liver conditions), herpes zoster, and HPV vaccination, coverage did not improve for other vaccinations and many adults remained unvaccinated with recommended vaccines. “

Vaccination Coverage Among Adults in the United States, National Health Interview Survey, 2016

While most adults are immune to what were once common childhood diseases, like measles and mumps, because they were either vaccinated or had the disease naturally, many could do better with newer vaccines that weren’t available when they were kids.

More on Adult Vaccination Statistics

Vaccines In Development

Many of us have heard the myth that there are “300 new vaccines in the pipeline.”

It takes a long time to develop a new vaccine.
It takes a long time to develop a new vaccine.

Of course, no one really believes that means scientists are out there developing vaccines against 300 separate diseases or that it will mean that kids will some day get 300 more vaccines.

Vaccines In Development

So what does it mean?

Surprisingly, it doesn’t even mean 300 new vaccines are in the pipeline anymore. The latest, 2016 update of the Medicines in Development for Vaccines report from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America now states that there are “More Than 250 Vaccines in Development Pipeline.”

To understand what that means, you have to take a look at the vaccines being developed, which include:

  • 124 for infectious diseases
  • 105 for cancers
  • thirteen for allergies
  • eight for neurological disorders
  • seven for other conditions

And even of the 124 vaccines in development or testing for infectious diseases:

  • 36 are to prevent or treat HIV
  • 25 are to prevent influenza, including new nasal flu vaccines
  • 8 are for RSV
  • 8 are for Ebola

So when they talk about “300 vaccines in the pipeline,” remember that even when you consider that only 124 of them are for infectious diseases, of those, 77 are for just 4 different infectious diseases.

The other 47 vaccines in various stages of development include vaccines for CMV, tuberculosis, dengue, Zika, GBS, West Nile virus, Staph, herpes, hepatitis C, E. coli, pseudomonas, malaria, C. diff infections, Shigella, norovirus, anthrax, smallpox, and ricin.

Some others are for infections that you have likely never heard of, including viral hemorrhagic fever, Ross River virus infections, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis.

And unfortunately, very few of these infectious disease vaccines are in stage III trials, which means that very, very few are close to seeing the inside of a pediatrician’s office.

Potential New Vaccines

Which vaccines have the greatest potential to be protecting our kids soon?

A few vaccines have been recently approved, including:

  • Dengvaxia – a dengue fever vaccine developed by Sanofi Pasteur which has already been approved in Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, El Salvador and Costa Rica (endemic areas)
  • Shingrix – a new shingles vaccine (adults only)
  • Vaxelis – a hexavelent vaccine (a combination vaccine, so technically not a new vaccine or at least it doesn’t mean that your child will get an additional shot, in fact, getting Vaxelis means getting fewer shots)

Based on which vaccines have completed phase III trials and have been submitted for registration to the FDA, the one likely candidate seems to be:

  • an Ebola vaccine from Merck (V920 has finished phase III trials as in under review)

Other vaccines in late development phases include:

  • an MMR vaccine from GSK (already available in other countries)
  • a 15-valent pneumococcal vaccine from Merck (V114, in Phase III trials – would compete with Prevnar 13)
  • Men Quad TT – a “second generation” meningococcal vaccine
  • Bexsero MenB vaccine for infants (in Phase III trials)
  • a Clostridium difficile infection vaccine for seniors by Pfizer (in Phase III trials)
  • a 20-valent pneumococcal vaccine from Pfizer, the makers of Prevnar (20vPnC, in Phase III trials)

And we may see the combination, pentavalent MenABCW-135Y meningococcal vaccine by 2021.

So much for 300 new vaccines…

For More Information on New Vaccines:

Updated May 26, 2019

Vaccines for Adults

Adults need to get vaccines, just like kids.

Vaccines for Adults

Of course, they don’t get as many vaccines as kids, since many adults are either already immune or are no longer at risk to many vaccine-preventable diseases.

The adult immunization schedule can help adults figure out which vaccines they need.
The adult immunization schedule can help adults figure out which vaccines they need.

Adults do get:

They can also get most other vaccines, except Rotavirus and DTaP (they get Tdap instead), that they need because they lack immunity. Although it is not on the immunization schedule, adults can get the polio vaccine if necessary.

Another question that comes up concerning adult vaccines is why do adults and children get the same vaccines. In other words, are vaccines calibrated taking into account a child’s weight and age?

Donald Trump often says that he is against vaccines because we give “one massive dose for a child,” going on to say that they should get smaller dosages in a more spread out schedule. Some others agree, claiming that infants shouldn’t get the same dose of vaccine as an adult.

But do they?

Not always. There are pediatric versions of the influenza, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and DTaP (vs Tdap) vaccines.

It doesn’t necessarily matter though. Unlike medications you take, like Tylenol or an antibiotic, vaccines don’t go through your whole body to work, so your size doesn’t matter.

More on Vaccines for Adults

DTP Vaccines

Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis were among the first vaccines that were developed:

  • diphtheria vaccine – 1888
  • first tetanus vaccine – 1914
  • first pertussis vaccine – 1915

It wasn’t until 1949 that they were improved and combined into the DTP vaccine though.

DTP vaccines protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
DTP vaccines protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

A separate Td vaccine was licensed for adults in 1953.

Today, all children get their first dose of the latest DTaP vaccines when they are two months old, completely a three dose primary series by the time they are six months old.

Children get booster doses of DTaP when they are 15 to 18 months old and again at age four to six years.

Remember, we switched to using DTaP in 1997.

A Tdap booster is given at age 11 to 12 years, to adults who have never had it, and with each and every pregnancy.

More on DTP Vaccines