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October 1, 1982

Vaccination and Disease Prevention for Adults

JAMA. 1982;248(13):1607-1610. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330130055027

BECAUSE vaccination of children is now considered to be routine in the United States, it is taken for granted that adults are immunized. A recent review of the role of the periodic health examination depicted some of the uncertainties concerning routine immunization practices for adults.1 Many "childhood" diseases are no longer diseases of childhood because of the widespread immunization of children in the United States. In recent years, several of the vaccine-preventable diseases have become diseases of adults: during 1980, for example, 91.6% of tetanus cases and more than one third of rubella cases occurred in persons older than 15 years.2 The purposes of this commentary are to remind physicians and other health care workers who treat adults to incorporate vaccination questions into the medical history and to review immunizing agents that might be indicated for adults.

The medical history of a patient is an important tool used