How You Can Help Overcome Low Vaccination Rates Among Adults

July 2016

Technically Speaking
Monthly Column by Deborah Wexler, MD
Deborah Wexler MD
Technically Speaking is a monthly column written by IAC’s Executive Director Deborah Wexler, MD. The column is featured in The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center’s (VEC’s) monthly e-newsletter for healthcare professionals. Technically Speaking columns cover practical topics in immunization delivery such as needle length, vaccine administration, cold chain, and immunization schedules.
Check out a recent issue of Vaccine Update for Healthcare Providers. The VEC e-newsletter keeps providers up to date on vaccine-related issues and includes reviews of recently published journal articles, media recaps, announcements about new resources, and a regularly updated calendar of events.
How You Can Help Overcome Low Vaccination Rates among Adults
Published July 2016
Information presented in this article may have changed since the original publication date. For the most current immunization recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, visit
The National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC), an expert body that advises the Department of Human Health and Services, has developed national standards with the goal of improving adult vaccination coverage for all vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). In 2014, NVAC published “Standards for Adult Immunization Practice.” These recommendations call on all healthcare providers — whether they provide vaccinations in their healthcare settings or not — to take steps to help ensure that their adult patients are fully immunized. The four “Practice Standards for All Healthcare Professionals” are:

  • ASSESS the vaccination status of your patients at every clinical encounter. For providers to do this, they and their clinic staff need to stay informed about the latest CDC vaccine recommendations for adults.
  • STRONGLY RECOMMEND needed vaccines for your patients. Clinicians are known to be the most valued and trusted source of health information for adults. Research shows that most adults believe vaccines are important and that a recommendation from their healthcare professional is a key predictor of whether patients get needed vaccines.
  • ADMINISTER recommended vaccines or REFER patients to a vaccination provider. Make vaccination services in your practice as convenient as possible for patients. If you do not stock certain vaccines or if you do not provide vaccines at all, refer your patients to a specific provider known to have available the needed vaccines. HealthMap Vaccine Finder is a free, online service where visitors can search for locations that offer immunizations. Enter your zip code at
  • DOCUMENT the vaccines your patients receive, whether they are administered by you or elsewhere. Place that information in your state immunization registry, if you have one available. Also, be sure to give your patients a record of their vaccinations. This is particularly helpful when they see different providers for different health needs. If you send them to another provider, follow up with your patients to make sure they received the vaccines you recommended.

Resources to assist providers with implementation of these standards for adult immunization practice are available on the CDC website.

There are many more resources available from the Immunization Action Coalition to help vaccinate adults. Here are a few:

For Patients (Ready-to-copy handouts for your patients)
For Healthcare Professionals


Visit IAC’s Clinic Resources website on Adult Vaccination for additional materials.


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