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Adults need vaccines, too -- but we're not getting them

By Erin Sykes

NBC News

A big reason for the alarming rise in whooping cough cases across the country is because too few adults are getting their pertussis booster shots, doctors say. But that's not the only vaccine that grown-ups are unaware they need -- nearly half of the adults in the U.S. don't know which shots the government recommends for their age group, according to a new survey by Walgreens.

For example, at least 1 million older adults a year in the U.S. get shingles, an extremely painful skin rash, yet fewer than 10 percent of people over 60 -- the recommended age for the shot -- have been vaccinated against it, research indicates.

The low vaccination rate for grown-ups is a serious problem, because more than 40,000 adults die each year from vaccine-preventable illnesses, government research shows. 

The recommended immunizations for adults (over age 18) include:

Influenza -- all adults, every year

Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (TdTdap) -- booster vaccine every 10 years

Zoster (Shingles) -- age 60 and over, 1 dose

Pneumonia -- over 65, 1 dose

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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