New data shows that African Americans fail to keep up with vaccinations into adulthood, making them more vulnerable to diseases, and while African American adults place high priorities on immunizations for their children, they fail to protect themselves with disease preventable vaccines.
According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the childhood immunization program has been largely successful in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S. The same widespread success has not been achieved with adult vaccinations.
Experts says they hope that more effective information campaigns for adults about the devastation of preventable diseases and the safety of vaccines into adulthood will result in high rates of vaccination throughout life for all adults, particularly among young adults.
Adult vaccination rates are low, with those in the African American community being even lower.
According to the Foundation, among the reasons for the disparity is African Americans distrust of the vaccines and the healthcare system itself. Many doubt vaccines' effectiveness and believe they will not only not help fight off an infection, but will also make them ill from the injection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that immunizations rates for older African Americans are substantially lower for the general older adult population.
Researchers are examining factors including patients negative attitudes, misconceptions about vaccines, and shortages of effective programs for vaccine delivery.
Researchers say other factors that weigh in on the African American community are based on a lack of accessibility to locations that provide vaccinations, which is linked to diminishing African American health indicators.
Since health care providers play a major role in recommending vaccines to their patients, experts say the emerging challenge is how to effectively overcome issues of fear to help more adults toward healthier and longer lives.
For more information on vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases, go to www.nfid.org.