For Immediate Release
September 25, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE Reminds Adults to Get Immunized, Too

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is reminding Kansans that adult immunizations are just as important as those for children. To protect themselves and family members, including children who may be at risk for serious complications, adults should make sure they are up-to-date with recommended shots, including the vaccine against pneumococcal pneumonia and an annual flu vaccine.

National Adult Immunization Awareness Week (NAIAW) is September 23-29 and is intended to raise awareness about the importance of adult and adolescent immunization to help protect against serious diseases such as shingles, influenza and meningococcal meningitis. The theme of this year’s NAIAW campaign is “Adult Immunization: It’s Your Best Shot!” The goal of the campaign is to promote awareness about the importance of adult immunizations.

“Despite the many advances in modern medicine, each year thousands of people in the U.S. die from diseases that are easily prevented by safe and effective vaccines ,” says Dr. Howard Rodenberg, Director of the KDHE Division of Health and State Health Officer. “Adult immunizations are safe, cost-effective and the best way to protect yourself, your family and your community from vaccine-preventable diseases. As many as 46,000 adults in the U.S. die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases or their complications . ”

Adults who should get the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine include:

Most forms of pneumonia are caused by a bacteria or a virus – others are caused by tiny organisms called mycoplasmas, or even by certain types of fungi. Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia include shaking chills, a high fever, sweating, shortness of breath, chest pain, and a cough that produces thick, greenish or yellow phlegm. Viral pneumonia often begins with a dry cough, headache, fever, muscle pain and fatigue. As the disease progresses, you may experience shortness of breath and develop a cough that produces small amounts of phlegm that may be clear or white.

Besides the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine, an annual flu vaccine is strongly recommended for adults, especially those 50 and over and those with chronic health conditions. Influenza can worsen chronic heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, and can lead to pneumonia. The flu is one of the top 10 killers in the U.S.

Adults should get a flu shot each year, especially those who fall into the following categories:

Adults are encouraged to check with their healthcare provider to ensure they are up-to-date with their immunizations. Recommended adult immunizations, which will help to protect you and your family, are as follows:

Vaccinations can reduce absences at work, school and social events, save healthcare funds and most importantly, save lives. Please visit for more information about the NAIAW campaign and CAIC.