Important progress is being made in adult immunizations these days. New standards provide a guide for implementing and evaluating that will not only strengthen services, but will also ultimately raise vaccination rates.
The National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) very recently updated the Adult Immunization Practice standards for health care professionals, and published them in the March-April 2014 Public Health Reports. The new standards that we can use across the country arrive just in time for the May 20th adult immunization conference that JSI is planning with the Massachusetts Adult Immunization Coalition and Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the standards are needed because:
- Adult vaccination rates are unacceptably low.
- Most adults are NOT aware that they need vaccines.
- Recommendation from their healthcare professional is the strongest predictor of whether patients get vaccinated.
- There are many missed opportunities for vaccination because many healthcare professionals are not routinely assessing vaccination status.
The new standards address these points by asking healthcare professionals to take four key steps:
- ASSESS immunization status of all your patients at every clinical encounter.
- Strongly RECOMMEND vaccines that patients need.
- ADMINISTER needed vaccines or REFER your patients to a vaccination provider.
- DOCUMENT vaccines received by your patients.
JSI is working with the medical and the public health communities to promote, embrace, and use the standards in its role managing the Massachusetts Adult Immunization Coalition, a collaborative partnership dedicated to increasing adult immunization through education, networking, and sharing innovative and best practices, as well as the Annual Massachusetts Adult Immunization Conference, which is the largest activity of the Coalition.
The arrival of new standards underscores our purpose for the conference – through the connections and best practices we will share at the conference, we will make progress in implementing national standards with the end goal of raising adult immunization rates.