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May 25, 1979

Vaccination to Prevent Pneumonia

JAMA. 1979;241(21):2299. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290470049029

The medical profession has been accused of devoting too much attention to the diagnosis and treatment of disease and too little to preventive medicine. Most physicians would deny this accusation and defend their personal efforts to keep patients well by every means at their disposal. However, the report of Pantell and Stewart in this issue of The Journal (p 2272) calls into question the amount of effort that physicians in any practice setting devote to preventive medicine.

The model studied was the use of the pneumococcal vaccine for patients who had been identified as being at special risk of suffering from pneumonia and were under medical care by health personnel who had been alerted to desirability of vaccination and the availability of the vaccine. The response in every practice setting was abysmally poor.

The authors speculate about the reasons for this poor response, the most likely of which is an