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Internists Endorse 2007-08 Adult Immunization Schedule and Publish in Annals of Internal Medicine

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 18, 2007 - The American College of Physicians (ACP), with membership of 124,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students, endorses the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) adult immunization schedule for 2007-2008 and publishes the recommendations on the Web site of its flagship journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, on October 18. This is the first time the journal has published the recommendations.

The CDC has released the Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule each year since 2002 to guide physicians and other clinicians about the appropriate vaccines for their adult patients. The schedule does not include travel-related vaccines.

"Vaccines and immunizations are not just for kids," said Sandra Fryhofer, MD, a member of the ACP Adult Immunization Advisory Board and an Atlanta physician in private practice. "And flu shots aren't the only vaccines adults should get."

New information in this year's adult immunization schedule:

  • Vaccination for varicella (chickenpox) is now recommended for all adults with no evidence of immunity to varicella.

  • Vaccination for zoster (shingles) has been added to the list of vaccines for adults age 60 or older, regardless of whether they report having a prior episode of shingles.

"Physicians should be aware of the schedule, know that it has been recently updated and advise their patients of the appropriate vaccines. Patients should ask their physician about adult immunization and what vaccines are appropriate for them," said Dr. Fryhofer.

To reinforce the importance of the adult immunization guidelines, ACP will notify its members of the guidelines through its monthly magazine, ACP Observer. The organization hopes to make the full text of the guidelines and chart available at Internal Medicine 2008, ACP's annual scientific meeting, in Washington, DC.

In an accompanying editorial, Gregory A. Poland, MD, and William Schaffner, MD, also members of ACP's Adult Immunization Advisory Board, point out the almost 50,000 Americans die of vaccine-preventable diseases each year and that 99 percent of them are adults. They say that it will be difficult to achieve the same level of success in adult immunization as the U.S. childhood immunization program, but actions such as endorsement by the American College of Physicians and publication in Annals of Internal Medicine are "an important step."

The new schedule, "Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule. United States October 2007-September 2008," appears online at the Web site of Annals of Internal Medicine. It will be published in the Nov. 20, 2007, print edition of the journal.

Annals of Internal Medicine (www.annals.org) is one of the most widely cited peer-reviewed medical journals in the world. The journal has been published for 80 years and accepts only seven percent of the original research studies submitted for publication. Annals of Internal Medicine is published by the American College of Physicians (www.acponline.org), the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States.

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