The overall health impact (eg, infections, hospitalizations, and deaths) of a flu season varies from year to year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9.2 million and 60.8 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations, and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually since 20101.
Before vaccines, as many as 200,000 cases of diphtheria, 200,000 cases of pertussis, and hundreds of cases of tetanus were reported in the United States each year. Since vaccination began, reports of cases for tetanus and diphtheria have dropped by about 99% and for pertussis by about 80%11.
Modeling estimates suggest 75% to 80% of males and females will be infected with HPV in their lifetime4,5,a. Approximately 79 million people in the US are currently infected with HPV and approximately 14 million people become newly infected with HPV each year3,a. For most people, HPV clears on its own. But for others who don’t clear the virus, it could cause certain precancers, cancers, and other diseases.
According to the CDC, 11- to 12-year-olds should receive 2 doses of HPV vaccine at least 6 months apart. Teens and young adults who start the series later, at ages 15 through 26 years, need 3 doses of HPV vaccine to help protect against cancer-causing HPV infection7. Completing the series is important to help deliver the best protection. Some patients may expect to be reminded of additional doses, so it’s important to communicate follow-up expectations clearly. Remind your patients when they are due for additional doses8.
Rates of meningococcal disease are highest in children younger than 1 year, followed by a second peak in adolescence. Among adolescents and young children, those who are ages 16 through 23 have the highest rates of meningococcal disease9.
There are two types of meningococcal vaccines for preteens and teens10:
A booster dose is also recommended at 16 years old so teens continue having protection when they are at highest risk of meningococcal disease9,10.
All teens may also be vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, preferably at 16 through 18 years old10.
Review local, state, and national vaccine coverage rates.
Take note of how your practice’s vaccination rates compare. Remember, you can review your vaccination rates by leveraging the QIC in OP.
Share this information with your office staff and colleagues.
Identify ways to improve vaccination rates within your practice.
Collaborate with other practices to learn how they were successful in the efforts to improve immunization rates among adolescents.
Influenza (2015-16 season)12:
Meningococcal14: 80.8% (MMWR, August 2016)
Tdap14: 87.1% (MMWR, August 2016)
Remember: You can use the QIC (Quality Improvement Calculator) in OP to find out how vaccination rates at your practice compare to the national averages.
In addition to the national rates, you can also use the interactive maps, trend lines, bar charts, and data tables within the CDC’s Teen VaxView to view regional, state, and selected local area adolescent vaccination coverage.
Consider ways to help patients better understand your recommendations.
Explain their personal risk
Discuss the potential complications or consequences of getting a vaccine-preventable disease
Share a professional experience
Share the efficacy and safety profile of the vaccine
Let them know you recommend they receive the vaccine today
Staff education is also important and creates a positive culture and team-based approach for vaccinating. Setting goals and measuring success on an ongoing basis is a great way to make gradual improvements and hold your practice accountable.
Remember, OP offers tools that can also help you improve vaccination rates in your practice:
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