American College of Physicians reminds adults that vaccines aren’t just for kids

ACP recognizes National Immunization Awareness Month

Philadelphia, July 31, 2017 -- To encourage adults to get vaccinated and to remind internists to make sure their patients are up-to-date on the latest recommended adult immunization schedule, the American College of Physicians (ACP) recognizes August as National Immunization Awareness Month.

“All adults should get recommended vaccines to guard against serious health problems,” said Jack Ende, MD, MACP, president, ACP. “Internal medicine physicians should assess their patients’ vaccination needs at each office visit.”

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 pneumococcal pneumonia, bacteremia, and meningitis; HPV to prevent cervical, anal, and other cancers; Hepatitis B; and herpes zoster to help prevent shingles. Each of these vaccines should be administered according to guidelines for dosing and schedules.

The latest adult immunization schedule and recommendations approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is published in Annals of Internal Medicine. ACP and other professional organizations reviewed and approved the schedule. In June 2017, ACIP reiterated that the quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine, also known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, should not be used in any setting during the upcoming flu season. ACIP’s recommendation must be reviewed and approved by the CDC director. The final recommendation will be published in an upcoming Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“Vaccinations are safe and not only protect the person receiving the vaccine but also help prevent the spread of disease, especially to those who are most vulnerable to serious complications, such as the elderly and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems,” Dr. Ende said.

ACP offers the following resources to help increase immunization rates:

  • Immunization patient-education materials.
  • ACP's I Raise the Rates initiative to increase adult immunization rates in primary care. The initiative includes webinars and videos that cover the latest vaccine recommendations for adults and how to utilize the entire health care team in organizing immunization services. An extension of I Raise the Rates is a partnership of ACP, the National Minority Quality Forum, and QHC Advisory Group to increase adult immunization rates among underserved populations.
  • Examples of quality improvement projects in adult immunization.
  • 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.
  • ACP Adult Immunization & Quality Improvement for Residents training program about the science of adult immunizations and evidence-based strategies for increasing vaccination rates.

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 in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 152,000 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.