DOBSON — County health officials say that just because a person passes into adulthood doesn’t mean they don’t need immunizations.
The announcement came as the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center took part in National Immunization Awareness Month.
“The need for immunizations doesn’t end with childhood,” said Brandi Poplin, clinical services director for the health department.
Poplin said that each year, thousands of adults across the country suffer serious health issues, are hospitalized or even die from conditions that could be controlled through vaccines, things like the flu, whooping cough, bacterial infections and even some forms of cancer.
“Most people don’t realize that adults need immunizations, too,” she said. “While many realize that a flu vaccine is recommended every year, few adults are aware of the need for other vaccines to help protect their health.”
Vaccines can also help protect the health of the family, Poplin added.
“Being vaccinated as an adult is important because it also helps protect children who may not be old enough to be vaccinated,” she said. “When the people around children are vaccinated it protects the children, too.”
Poplin pointed to a recent surge in pertussis, or whooping cough.
“A couple of years ago we gave out around 3,000 vaccinations to help try to curb an increase in whooping cough,” she said. “We got ahead of the curve on getting people vaccinated, and today our numbers are under control while the counties surrounding us have high numbers. That was because of people being vaccinated.”
Protection from some childhood immunizations fades over time, according to Poplin.
“We have learned that the protection from… whooping cough vaccine given to children doesn’t last into adulthood, so all adults are now recommended to get one dose of… whooping cough vaccine if they did not receive it as an adolescent,” she said.
Adults may also be recommended for vaccines due to their age, job, travel or health conditions, Poplin said.
She noted that the health department doesn’t keep records of the number of adults vaccinated, but said by simply stopping by the staff can determine whether a vaccination is needed.
For more information contact the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center at 336-401-8410.
Keith Strange can be reached at 336-415-4698 or via Twitter @strangereporter.