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ACP reminds adults to discuss vaccinations they may need with their internist

ACP recognizes National Immunization Awareness Month

Philadelphia, July 28, 2016 -- To emphasize the importance of immunizations throughout life -- and to help remind adults that they need vaccines, too -- the American College of Physicians is recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month.

“Immunizations guard against serious health problems, hospitalization, and even death,” said Nitin Damle, MD, MS, FACP, president, ACP. “National Immunization Awareness Month is the perfect time for internal medicine physicians to make sure that their patients are up-to-date on the latest recommended adult immunization schedule.”

ACP advises adults to get an annual flu vaccine with either the inactivated influenza vaccine or recombinant influenza vaccine to protect against seasonal flu and to use that opportunity to discuss with their internist other vaccinations they might need. These include Tdap to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough); pneumococcal to protect against pneumonia, bacteremia, and meningitis; HPV to prevent cervical, anal, and other cancers; Hepatitis B; and herpes zoster to help prevent shingles.

ACP offers resources to help internists increase immunization rates. These include

  • Webinars and videos that cover the latest vaccine recommendations for adults and how to utilize the entire health care team in organizing immunization services.
  • ACP Quality Connect Coaching Calls to assist physicians in implementing standing orders, providing patient recommendations, and purchasing and coding for vaccines in the office.
  • ACP Adult Immunization & Quality Improvement for Residents training program to help program directors identify quality improvement projects and promote them at ACP’s annual meeting.
  • The ACP Practice Advisor Adult Immunization Module is part of a practice management tool designed to improve office efficiency and enhance patient care. The immunization module focuses on steps that staff in primary care offices can take to improve the rates of immunization.

The latest adult immunization schedule and recommendations approved by Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is available at http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2484895. ACP and other professional organizations reviewed and approved the schedule. In June 2016, ACIP voted that live attenuated influenza vaccine, also known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2016-17 flu season. ACIP’s recommendation must be reviewed and approved by the CDC’s Director. The final recommendation will be published in a CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report in late summer or early fall.

ACP is a member of the Campaign for Adult Immunization, an initiative of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases to ensure that all adults are fully aware of and have access to appropriate immunizations.

About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 148,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

ACP has been a leader in helping internist and other primary care physicians to immunize their adult patients. ACP provides resources such as physician and patient education materials, strategies to engage practice staff, and information to help physicians effectively order and code for vaccines for both Medicare and other payers.