Doctors remind adults 50 and older to stay up to date on their vaccinations

Regional health nurse prepares to vaccinate a patient

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - August is National Immunization Awareness Month and doctors are reminding adults, it's not just kids who need to stay up to date on their vaccines.

The measles outbreak in the U.S. this summer highlighted a disease that many thought was under control.

"Most of the outbreak has been seen in very large, commercial centers, not that we are exempt or we are excluded, or we are, therefore, not at risk because you know the world is a global village, people travel here and there, so the concerns would be whether or not we end up with reemergence of measles here in South Dakota," said Jennifer Williamson, medical doctor at Regional Health.

With declining vaccine rates in South Dakota, as well as across the nation, diseases like measles and whooping cough are a concern for doctors in Rapid City.

"Last year alone we had over a hundred cases of pertussis or whooping cough, something I've never seen but I guess I'll be seeing it sometime soon again because of under immunity or declining immunization rates in the population," Jennifer Williamson said.

Besides the annual flu shot, Williamson recommends adults 50 and older get the shingles vaccine, as well as the pneumonia vaccine for those 65 years and older.

"Vaccination in adults, very important. Many times the focus is on children and infant immunization, many adults I have met across professional, as well as personal setting who were not aware that we still require vaccine for prevention of communicable diseases."

Williamson wants people to know that adults who stay up to date on their vaccines can boost their immune systems and potentially prevent communicable diseases.