As the push gets under way to immunize Americans against swine flu and the seasonal flu, infectious-disease experts warn that many adults haven't received vaccinations for at least half a dozen other preventable diseases—some of which could put people who get influenza at even greater risk for complications and death.
Bacterial pneumonia is the most dangerous complication of the flu and a leading cause of death in previous flu pandemics. Yet only one in four adults under 65 who are considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be at risk for the infection have been vaccinated against invasive pneumococcal disease, which causes bacterial pneumonia…
"Vaccines have not been front and center in our national efforts for disease prevention as they should be," says Gregory A. Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic's vaccine-research group. "It's a collusion of ignorance—patients don't know to ask about vaccines, and physicians often don't have good mechanisms to screen patients and determine which vaccines they need."
Wall Street Journal by Laura Landro, 10/13/09