Adults are under Immunized

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Registered: 12-14-2005
Adults are under Immunized
Fri, 04-25-2008 - 10:19am

Survey suggests Canadian adults are under immunized, don't track their shots

TORONTO — Canadian adults aren't as well protected by immunizations as they should be, leaving them vulnerable to serious diseases such as pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus and hepatitis, an immunization advocacy organization said Wednesday.

A national survey conducted for the group showed more than one quarter of Canadian adults don't know if they are up to date with vaccinations recommended for adults. And 64 per cent don't keep records of the shots they do get.

"Adults are under-immunized in Canada," Dr. Bonnie Henry, chair of the Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness and Promotion, said in a release.

"Recent outbreaks of measles and mumps in Canada, and three deaths from tetanus in B.C. last year, remind us of the importance of immunization throughout our lifespan."

The survey, conducted in early April by the polling firm Leger Marketing, found that six in 10 adults didn't feel knowledgeable about the immunizations adults ought to get. A total of 1,600 Canadians were polled for the survey, which is considered accurate to within 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Adults who aren't immunized or whose immunity has waned because they failed to get booster shots aren't just putting themselves at risk. If they become infected, they can pass disease on to others around them. But the survey suggested few adults - 10 per cent - see preventing spread of disease as the main reason for getting immunized.

"If you work with or visit young children, older persons, people who are being treated for cancer or others whose immune systems may be weak, you should make sure you're not passing on a life-threatening but preventable disease," said Dr. Susan Bowles, the coalition's vice-chair.