Cover of FAQ: Adult Vaccines: A Grown up Thing To Do

Despite the many overwhelming successes of vaccines in the past century, including the eradication of smallpox and near-eradication of polio, many adults do not know how vaccines work, or even realize that the benefits of vaccination do not end in childhood. To help raise awareness of the importance of vaccines for adults, the American Academy of Microbiology has issued a new report titled "FAQ: Adult Vaccines – A Grown Up Thing to Do."

"Because 40,000 adults in the U.S. die each year of vaccine-preventable diseases, it is important for adults to be aware of the options available to them for vaccination," says Dr. Nicola Klein of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center, a steering committee member for the report.

The report is based on a colloquium convened by the Academy in late 2011, which brought together 18 of the nation's leading experts to consider and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about vaccines for adults. It provides non-technical, science-based answers to questions that people may have regarding immunization.

Some of the questions the report considers include the following:

  • What are vaccines and how do they work?
  • Why do adults need to be vaccinated?
  • How can getting vaccinated as an adult help protect my children? Or elderly parents?
  • Are vaccines safe – and how do we know this?

"FAQ: Adult Vaccines – A Grown Up Thing to Do" is the latest offering in a series of reports designed to provide a rapid response to emerging issues. The FAQ series is based on single-day meetings focused on specific questions and reports are issued quickly—within 2-3 months. Previous FAQ reports have covered topics such as the role of microorganisms in cleaning up oil spills and the multifaceted bacterium E. coli.

"The Academy FAQ reports explain complex microbiological problems in a timely, balanced format that is easily understandable by the public, the media and policy makers," says Stanley Maloy of San Diego State University.


Michael Ingerson-Mahar, Ann Reid. 2012. FAQ: adult vaccines: a grown up thing to do.

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