Medical Edge: Vital Vaccinations

Posted at: 11/14/2012 12:47 PM
Updated at: 11/14/2012 1:12 PM
By: Ellery McCardle

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- From measles to the flu, there's a long list of vaccines doctors recommend from a young age to adults.

While some forego those shots, doctors at Mayo Clinic say the more protection, the better.

The ability to vaccinate against disease is known as one of the greatest medical advances in modern time.

"Hand washing before surgery and clean water supply, it really ranks up there," said Dr. Robert Jacobson of Mayo Clinic pediatrics.

He is the medical director of Mayo Clinic's Community Health Immunization Program. He says for civilians there are no federal or national requirements for vaccination.

"When you hear about mandates or requirements you're actually referring to school, daycare and college rules," said Jacobson.

a group of scientists and physicians called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends which vaccines will do us the most good from infancy to old age.

"Measles, mumps and rubella of course diptheria, tetanus and pertussis, flu vaccine, pneumococcal conjugate vaccines, the meningococcal vaccines. we have hepatitis a, hepatitis b," said Dr. Jacobson.

He says while studies have proven there is no link between autism and vaccines. Some parents still have concerns.

"That question mark has been harmful enough to cause some families to choose not to get vaccinated and have left their children and frankly, members of their community as risk for measles," said Dr. Jacobson.

Lax attitutdes about vaccination allowed a measles epidemic to explode in France, with 14,000 cases in the first six months this year.

"Frankly, across Europe 33 countries are now suffering outbreaks of measles," said Dr. Jacobson.

As for adults, doctors say you should keep up to date. Only 40% get a flu shot each year. Chicken pox and mumps can have devastating consequences and every adult should have by now received a dose of diptheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis. But Dr. Jacobson says only 6% of those adults have received that shot.

For those 60 and older, Dr. Jacobson advises people get a zoster shot to protect against shingles and those over 65 to ask their doctors about a pneumonia vaccination.