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October 12, 1994

Adult ImmunizationSummary of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee Report

Author Affiliations

University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver; Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY; Empire State Consumer Association, Rochester, NY; Every Child By Two, Washington, DC; Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex; Merck & Co Inc, Whitehouse Station, NJ; University of Virginia Medical Center, Charlottesville; University of Iowa, Iowa City; Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, Philadelphia, Pa; The March of Dimes, Washington, DC; Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn; Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Jamaica Plain; Department of Health Services, San Diego, Calif; DePere, Wis; University of California-San Francisco

JAMA. 1994;272(14):1133-1137. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520140063039

In January 1994 the National Vaccine Advisory Committee adopted a report that reviewed the status of adult immunization in the United States. Vaccine-preventable infections of adults represent a continuing cause of morbidity and mortality. Their major impact is among older persons. Effective and safe vaccines against these diseases are available, but they are poorly used. Several reasons account for low immunization levels among adults, including inadequate awareness by health care providers and the public of the importance and benefits of vaccination. Health care providers often fail to take advantage of opportunities to immunize adults during office, clinic, and hospital contacts and fail to organize programs in medical settings that ensure adults are offered the vaccines they need. Inadequate reimbursement for adult immunization by public and private health insurers and a lack of federal programs to support vaccine delivery are also major problems. The National Vaccine Advisory Committee's report includes five goals and 18 recommendations for improving adult immunization. To reach the Public Health Service adult immunization goals for the year 2000, the Committee recommends (1) improvements in public and provider education; (2) major changes in clinical practice; (3) increased financial support by public and private health insurers; (4) improved surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases and vaccine production and delivery; and (5) support for research on vaccine-preventable diseases, new and improved vaccines, immunization practices, and international programs for adult immunization.

(JAMA. 1994;272:1133-1137)