Vaccination of Adults in General Medical Practice

Paul Hunter, Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, Peter G Szilagyi
Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2020, 95 (1): 169-183
In vaccinating adults, clinicians face 2 types of challenges: (1) staying current on recommendations for influenza, pneumococcal, hepatitis A and B, zoster, and other vaccines and (2) addressing systemic barriers to implementing practices that increase vaccination rates. Although adult immunization rates remain suboptimal, there has been much good news in adult vaccination recently. New high-dose and adjuvanted influenza vaccines help improve immune response and may reduce influenza complications in older adults. The new recombinant zoster vaccine offers significantly more efficacy against zoster outbreaks and postherpetic neuralgia than zoster vaccine live. Pertussis vaccine given during the third trimester of pregnancy may prevent between 50% and 90% of pertussis infections in infants. Shorter time for completion (1 vs 6 months) of new, adjuvanted hepatitis B vaccine may increase adherence. Clinicians can address systemic barriers to increasing vaccination rates in their clinics and health care systems by following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Standards for Adult Immunization Practice. Clinicians can help increase vaccination rates by writing standing orders and by advocating for nurses or medical assistants to receive training and protected time for assessing and documenting vaccination histories and administration. Strong recommendations that presume acceptance of vaccination are effective with most patients. Communication techniques similar to motivational interviewing can help with vaccine-hesitant patients. Clinicians, as experts on providing preventive services, can educate community leaders about the benefits of immunization and can inform vaccine experts about challenges of implementing vaccination recommendations in clinical practice and strategies that can work to raise vaccination rates.

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