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Adults need vaccines too, but many don't have them

Beyond the flu shot – which she recommends for virtually every adult, every year – there are four major vaccines that adults should have, says Dr. Sharon Orrange, an assistant professor of medicine at Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Earlier this week, I told you about the California Medical Association Foundation's new campaign focused on adult vaccinations. The campaign – called Community Immunity – is intended to raise low vaccination rates among adults.

How low are we talking about?

Everyone over 19 years old should get a tetanus booster shot every 10 years. But in 2013, fewer than two in three adults ages 19 to 64 had done so, according to a February report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers are even worse for the herpes zoster shot, which prevents shingles and is recommended for all adults over age 60. Less than one in four adults in that age group had received the shot in 2013, according to the CDC.

I reached out to several Los Angeles-area doctors to find out why adult vaccination rates are so low. I also asked them for  more information about which vaccinations adults should definitely get.


New campaign spotlights need for adult vaccination

Sanofi Pasteur / Gabriel Pagcaliwagan via Flickr Creative Commons

The California Medical Association Foundation says it's distributing an adult vaccination guide to thousands of doctors and patient advocates.

The California Medical Association Foundation has launched a campaign to educate doctors and their patients about adult vaccinations. 

As part of its "Community Immunity" campaign, the CMA Foundation is distributing an adult vaccination guide to thousands of doctors and patient advocates. The guide features vaccine recommendations for adults based on age, dosage and vaccine type.

In a statement, Dr. David Holley, chair of the CMA Foundation, said unvaccinated adults expose themselves to contagious diseases, and also "endanger vulnerable populations including infants, the elderly, and pregnant women, who are increasingly vulnerable to serious illness."

The campaign has a lot of ground to make up: A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that adult vaccination rates are low for several recommended shots.


Almost all pediatricians have patients asking to delay vaccines, survey finds

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Eric Larrayadieu

A vast majority of pediatricians in a survey are concerned that not vaccinating kids on time leaves them susceptible to contagious diseases. Meanwhile, 82 percent believe that if they agree to bend the schedule, it will build trust with families.

Back in December, I reported that staunchly pro-vaccination doctors were agreeing to bend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended vaccination schedule for shot-wary parents.

For that story, Santa Monica pediatrician Dr. Marcy Hardart estimated that about one out of every five families she saw asked to delay the vaccination schedule. Hardart told me parents would ask her:

"Can’t we start later?"…Do we have to do all of them at once? Can we spread them out?"

I reported that more and more doctors were complying with such requests, in the hopes that children would eventually become fully vaccinated.

I wrote that it was nearly impossible to determine how widespread these alternative vaccination schedules were, since the state doesn’t begin tracking immunizations until kids enter childcare or kindergarten.


Friday Favorites: 4 health stories you might've missed

Murder or a Heart Attack

Thomas Hawk via Flickr Creative Commons

Did Covered California mess up your tax form? Don't have a heart attack: We have advice!

The news this week was nuts! I'm talking about that New England Journal of Medicine study, which found that babies who eat foods containing legumes are less likely to develop peanut allergies by age five.

Here's more on that study, plus KPCC's other best health stories of the week:

Allergy doctors explain surprising benefit of peanuts for allergy-prone babies

An allergy doctor from Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA joined AirTalk with Larry Mantle to answer some good follow-up questions to the study: How quickly might these findings be adopted by the medical community? And how does this apply to other common allergies, like pollen and shellfish?

What can you do to stop superbugs?

That whole exposure-as-prevention theory doesn't hold true when it comes to antibiotics.

The recent outbreak of antibiotic-resistant bacteria at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center points to a larger problem: Antibiotic resistance can develop through overuse of the drugs. I compiled some tips on how we can all use antibiotics more responsibly.


Covered California messed up my tax form. What should I do? (updated)

taxes 1040 tax time tax return filing

Photo by 401(K) 2012 via Flickr Creative Commons

Covered California sent postcards to 100,000 households statewide, letting consumers know the tax form they already received was wrong and to wait for a new one.

For people in about 100,000 California households, taxes just got a bit more complicated.

Here's the gist: Everyone who purchased health insurance through the state-run exchange received a tax form from Covered California. Except some of those forms were wrong.  Now, the agency is scrambling to send out new, accurate forms.

Something similar happened at the federal level, too. had to send out corrected tax forms to more than 800,000 taxpayers in states where the federal exchange is active.

KPCC health reporter Elizabeth Aguilera joined Take Two this morning to talk about this situation and what consumers should know. Here's some background information and her tips:

What went wrong?

The Covered California errors revolve around inconsistencies of enrollment in subsidized health insurance plans. For instance, someone may have been enrolled for only three months but the tax form says they were enrolled for six months. (The federal problem was different – it was about incorrect premiums on the forms).