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Low Adult Vaccination Rates Pose Health Risk


A new coalition’s goal is to work together to increase adult vaccination rates and stop vaccine-preventable diseases.

© Image Point Fr/Shutterstock.com

© Image Point Fr/Shutterstock.com

Because more than 50,000 adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year and thousands more have serious health problems that could have been prevented by getting recommended immunizations, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is supporting the launch of the Adult Vaccine Access Coalition (AVAC).

The AAFP announced its support at the 2015 AAFP Family Medicine Experience (formerly AAFP Assembly), being held September 29–October 3 in Denver.

The AAFP joins a coalition of health care providers, vaccine makers, pharmacies, public health organizations, and patient and consumer groups in this prevention effort.

“We have the ability to stop vaccine preventable diseases, but none of us can do it alone,” said Wanda Filer, MD, AAFP president. “As a coalition, we can significantly increase adult vaccination rates. Together, we will prevent needless suffering and save lives.”

The AVAC’s policy priorities include the following:

Build: Improve reporting of adult vaccinations to state immunization registries and encourage greater use of health information technology to track adult vaccination status and improve patient outcomes and care.

Measure: Strengthen and establish additional federal benchmarks and measures to encourage health plans to track, report, and achieve increased adult immunization rates.

Access: Encourage initiatives aimed at boosting adult immunization rates among minority, vulnerable, and at-risk populations.

Adults who seek access to and coverage for vaccines encounter a confusing health care system that doesn’t provide enough information about recommended vaccines and presents many financial, technological, and logistical obstacles, the AAFP stated. The AVAC’s goal is to foster an inclusive partnership of organizations to inform and engage federal policymakers in working toward common legislative and regulatory solutions that will strengthen and enhance access to and use of adult immunization services across the health care system.

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