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National Vaccine Advisory Committee recommends increased adolescent immunization
Date:7/7/2008

San Diego, July 7, 2008 Vaccinating infants and toddlers is an almost universal practice in the United States. Vaccines to prevent flu are a regular part of medical care for senior citizens and at-risk patients. But, according to a study published in the August 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the US healthcare system is not very effective in getting vaccines to the adolescent population.

In response to a request from the Assistant Secretary for Health, the Adolescent Working Group of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) conducted an assessment of the current state of adolescent immunizations and identified issues that will require national attention in the coming months and years if current and future recommended adolescent immunizations will be used to their potential.

There are three new vaccines available and recommended for adolescents that prevent a total of five diseases that can have a range of devastating health consequences. Individual vaccines protect against meningococcal meningitis and human papillomavirus and a combined vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. All three vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective.

The authors cite six topics with unique applications to adolescent immunization. There are venues for vaccine administration, consent for immunizations, communication, financing, surveillance, and the potential for school mandates.

The traditional role of the primary care physician to administer vaccines may not be effective for adolescents, who tend to enter the healthcare system only for acute problems. Additional healthcare settings that can provide additional access include pharmacies, family planning and sexually transmitted infection clinics, obstetriciangynecologist offices, emergency departments, teen clinics and health departments.

The ability of adolescents to consent for health careincluding vaccinationsdiffers su
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Contact: AJPM Editorial Office
eAJPM@ucsd.edu
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Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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