I get a yearly physical, and never once has my physician asked me if I am up-to-date on my vaccines, other than the flu shot. I am also a mom to two small children, and yet my pediatrician has never broached the subject of me getting a Tdap booster, even before my kids were vaccinated and therefore totally vulnerable to whooping cough. With a whooping cough epidemic declared in California and more outbreaks happening across the country, I’m wondering why these conversations don’t happen. It’s not just me: According to a recent piece in The New York Times, only about 50% of adults have gotten the pertussis booster. One reason: many have no idea they need it.
We’ve written about the vaccines that adults need. The Sounds of Pertussis and Give Your Health a Shot campaigns, complete with high profile celeb spokesmen like Jeff Gordon amd Mia Hamm, aim to educate the public on adult immunization (full disclosure: they are backed, respectively, by Sanofi Pasteur – currently advertising on our site -- and GlaxoSmithKline, two vaccine manufacturers). But many people depend on their physician to fill them in on the tests and shots they need, and many docs are not taking the time to talk to their patients about it. Looks like it’s up to us to start asking more questions.
When you know better, you do better. And now if you’ll excuse me I need to pick up the phone to call my doctor about a vaccine.
Have you gotten the DTaP booster? Has your physician ever talked to you about your own immunizations?