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    Adults know needed vaccines, but skip them anyway



    How physicians can boost immunization rates

    Despite promising levels of awareness, however, adult vaccination among the study group and nationally remain less than optimal. Half of the respondents reported receiving the flu vaccine, with that percentage rising with age to 74.7% in those aged 65 and up.

    Compliance was low for the pneumococcal vaccine among respondents under age 65 with high-risk conditions at 37.5%, but jumped to 72.1% in seniors over age 65. Another 61% of adults under age 50, 72.2% of adults 50 to 64 years of age, and 81.4% of seniors over age 65 received the tetanus vaccine, 24% received the hepatitis B vaccine, 35.2% of adults over age 60 received the herpes zoster vaccine and 27.1% of females aged 19 to 26 reported receiving the HPV vaccine.

    The study identified a few reasons for this non-compliance, with 5.5% of participants reporting cost as a barrier to vaccination and 5.2% reporting non-compliance because their insurance company did not cover the cost of the vaccine.

    The study authors note that this is a small portion of the population, indicating that cost may not be as great a barrier as previously thought.

    The authors concluded that high awareness does not always result in high vaccination coverage, and that awareness is not enough to motivate patients to get vaccinated. Therefore, researchers hypothesized that lower compliance with adult vaccination may be a consequence of physicians not recommending immunization to adult patients, as well as the tendency of adult patients to not seek out routine and preventive medical care. According to the report, only 26% of adults under the age 50 involved in the survey had not seen a provider in the last year, and those who hadn’t seen a physician in the last year were more likely to have lower vaccination coverage.

    Lu said some strategies to increase vaccination rates include: implementing patient reminder systems that will alert patients to a need for a vaccine and recall them for vaccines they are missing; implementing healthcare system-based interventions including patient education, expanded access, reminders for both physicians and patients and standing order programs; and assessing a patient’s vaccination status at every encounter.

    CDC offers additional guidance to healthcare providers for increasing adult vaccination rates on its website.

    “We hope this report serves as a reminder for healthcare providers to follow the standards for adult immunization practice to ensure their patients are up to date on all their recommended vaccines,” Lu said.

    Rachael Zimlich, RN
    Rachael Zimlich is a freelance writer in Cleveland, Ohio. She writes regularly for Contemporary Pediatrics, Managed Healthcare ...


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