Senate Health Committee chair highlights adult immunizations

Sen. Rusty Crowe

Sen. Rusty Crowe

NASHVILLE — State Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) has introduced Senate Joint Resolution 250 to highlight the importance of adult immunizations for Tennesseans.

“When we think about immunizations, we immediately think of children, but adults should also be getting the vaccines they need to prevent illness and disease,” Crowe said. “Raising awareness among Tennesseans is important because adult immunization rates are low, far beneath national targets, and 40,000 to 50,000 adults die each year in America from diseases that can be prevented by vaccines.”

Vaccines are recognized as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of our time, and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommend immunization for people 18 and older against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases including: influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), varicella (chicken pox), human papillomavirus (HPV), zoster (shingles), measles, mumps, rubella, pneumococcal disease (pneumonia), meningococcal disease (meningitis), hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

Adult immunization rates are especially low among African Americans and Hispanics. For example, during the flu season of 2010-2011, 44 percent of white adults were vaccinated, while only 40 percent of Hispanics and 39 percent of African Americans received vaccinations.

The CDC estimates that the direct cost of adult vaccine-preventable diseases is $10 billion annually in the United States, and the Institute of Medicine says that missed prevention opportunities are one of the six causes of excess cost in the country’s healthcare system.

“The purpose of this resolution is to get the word out and to encourage adults to consult their primary care providers about immunizations,” Crowe continued. “We also want to support healthcare providers and policy-makers in their efforts to remove barriers to vaccination and to protect more adults from vaccine-preventable diseases. Preventative healthcare is crucial.”

SEN. RUSTY CROWE (R-Johnson City) serves as chair of the Tennessee Senate Health and Welfare Committee. He is also a member of the Senate Education Committee; Senate Government Operations Committee; Joint Government Operations Commerce, Labor, Transportation and Agriculture Subcommittee; and Joint Government Operations Education, Health and General Welfare Subcommittee. Call his Nashville office at (615) 741-2468 or email him at His web page is