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Flu vaccination rates lag for at-risk adolescents
Date:11/2/2008

isk adolescents had one or more health care visits during the flu season at which the vaccine was not administered. In contrast, those who had preventive care visits were more likely to receive influenza vaccine.

Grace Lee of the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention, and senior author on the current study, published another study in the October issue of Pediatrics. In that study she found that among adolescents who had not been vaccinated for tetanus-diphtheria (Td), 75 percent did not receive an immunization despite visiting a healthcare provider.

Since 2005, three additional vaccines to prevent meningococcal disease, pertussis, and human papillomavirus have been approved and recommended for adolescents in the US. The introduction of these new vaccines has generated interest in improving how we track adolescent vaccinations.

The study team concludes both patients and providers need to be part of any intervention strategy aimed at increasing vaccination rates among this population. Previous research has also shown that letters to parents and electronic reminders for providers can be effective at improving vaccination rates.

The new recommendation for universal influenza vaccination of children and adolescents, issued by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices this past spring, may help to assure that adolescents are protected against the disease.

Dr. Nakamura observes, "Our findings lend support for the simplicity of universal vaccination. More adolescents, especially those with high-risk conditions, may be vaccinated if providers and parents don't first have to identify who meets criteria for vaccination, as under a risk-based approach."


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Contact: David Cameron
david_cameron@hms.harvard.edu
617-432-0441
Harvard Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

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