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Meeting the Challenges of Immunizing Adults

Published:September 14, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2015.08.014
      The overall burden of illness from diseases for which vaccines are available disproportionately falls on adults. Adults are recommended to receive vaccinations based on their age, underlying medical conditions, lifestyle, prior vaccinations, and other considerations. Updated vaccine recommendations from CDC are published annually in the U.S. Adult Immunization Schedule. Vaccine use among U.S. adults is low. Although receipt of a provider (physician or other vaccinating healthcare provider) recommendation is a key predictor of vaccination, more often consumers report not receiving vaccine recommendations at healthcare provider visits. Although providers support the benefits of vaccination, they also report several barriers to vaccinating adults, including the cost of providing vaccination services, inadequate or inconsistent payment for vaccines and vaccine administration, and acute medical care taking precedence over preventive services. Despite these challenges, a number of strategies have been demonstrated to substantially improve adult vaccine coverage, including patient and provider reminders and standing orders for vaccination. Providers are encouraged to incorporate routine assessment of their adult patients’ vaccination needs during all clinical encounters to ensure patients receive recommendations for needed vaccines and are either offered needed vaccines or referred for vaccination.
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