The American Lung Association is advising adults, especially ones who suffer from lung diseases, to consider consulting with their healthcare providers on getting vaccinations, since not only children but also adults can benefit from vaccines in preventing serious diseases such as influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia, and shingles. The awareness campaign is being conducted in partnership with Pfizer during National Immunization Awareness Month in August.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already recommend that everyone get vaccinated for lung diseases, with particular emphasis for people who suffer from other chronic lung diseases, but the association believes that adults do not generally follow the recommendation. Therefore, they are engaging in an awareness campaign to draw attention to the need. “Not Just for Kids Week” will take place until Saturday, August, 30.
“One of the best things people with lung disease can do to take charge of their health is to talk to their health care provider about getting vaccinated,” explained Norman Edelman, M.D., Senior Medical Advisor of the American Lung Association. “Influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia can have a devastating impact on the lives of those whose lungs are already compromised by asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other chronic respiratory conditions. Vaccines are vital to protecting lung health.”
Life threatening respiratory infections, such as influenza or pneumococcal pneumonia, are very dangerous, especially in people who older than 65, and for all adults who suffer from chronic lung diseases such as asthma and COPD, as well as smokers. Influenza and pneumonia combined were the ninth leading cause of death in the United States in 2010, according to the CDC, and it is also estimated that 900,000 Americans contract pneumococcal pneumonia every year.
As adults age, their immune systems become increasingly ineffective in fighting infection and disease, which is why the ALA is currently promoting the vaccination campaign. In addition to vaccinations, it is also important for adults with lung disease to maintain proper hygiene and frequently consult with healthcare providers, according to the officials. “Health care providers play a vital role in educating their patients on the need to keep their immunizations up to date,” said the Vice President of Americas Medical & Scientific Affairs, Pfizer Vaccines, Gregg Sylvester, M.D.
“We’re committed to increasing immunization rates to reduce the spread of vaccine-preventable disease and encourage anyone 65 years and older to make it a priority to confirm their vaccination needs with their health care provider,” he added, noting that both the American Lung Association and Pfizer are working in collaboration to achieve the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Healthy People 2020 goal of increased immunization rates.