Immunization Update

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The Healthy People 2020 report, published by the US Department of Health and Human Services, includes targets for reducing vaccine-preventable disease rates and increasing vaccination rates in all age groups. According to the report, for each birth cohort (group of individuals born in the same year), immunization with the routine childhood vaccination schedule prevents 14 million cases of disease and reduces direct healthcare costs by $9.9 billion. Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective clinical preventive services; however, thousands of people in the US do not receive them and suffer – even die – from vaccine preventable diseases.

From 2010 through 2014, flu-related deaths in the US ranged from 12,000 to 56,000 per year. Pneumococcal pneumonia leads to about 19,000 deaths every year, and as many as 1.4 million people currently suffer from Hepatitis B, with liver cancer as a potential complication. There have been a number of recent measles and pertussis outbreaks in communities with pockets of unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children.

In order to meet the Healthy People 2020 targets, all healthcare providers should stay up-to-date on vaccine recommendations and play an active role in immunizations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) update their recommendations for routine immunizations annually, while vaccine-specific recommendations are typically updated every 3-5 years (except influenza, which is updated yearly). Additionally, the CDC publishes the General Recommendations on Immunization and the Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (known as “The Pink Book”), which are considered core references for vaccine providers The updated ACIP-recommended immunization schedule for adults, including a summary of changes from the 2016 schedule, was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in February 2017, and is also available online.The schedules for children and adolescents are available online

Authors:

Jelena Lewis, PharmD is an Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Chapman University School of Pharmacy. She is also a faculty-in-residence at St. Jude Heritage Medical Group where she provides chronic disease state management.

Jeff Goad, PharmD, MPH is Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, Chapman University School of Pharmacy. He is a national faculty and advisory board member for the APhA Pharmacy Based Immunization Training Program and chair of the APhA Travel Medicine Advanced Competency Training Course.

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