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Healthcare Entities Must Focus on Adult Vaccination for Preventable Diseases

Talking to patients, processing their concerns and evaluating them are important duties of a physician. Maintaining accurate treatment notes is very important. EHR-integrated medical transcription services provided by a medical transcription company helps physicians to draft accurate medical records. With accurate medical records, physicians can study the medical history of patients and it also helps to keep important data such as adult vaccination records up to date.

Many people become sick from vaccine preventable diseases; and many adults are hospitalized and some may even lose their life. Vaccines are essential for babies and children, offering protection from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pneumonia, and polio, diseases that once harmed or killed thousands of U.S. children every year and that still kill thousands around the world. You may have taken vaccinations in your childhood but with time the protection from some vaccines can wear off. You may also be at risk for other diseases. So, being vaccinated minimizes the chances of spreading illness to other people. It helps you protect older people and children from being ill. 

In the influenza season (2017 to 2018), only 37% of adults in the U.S. were vaccinated against the flu. Despite many initiatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take vaccines to prevent influenza there was a decrease of 6 percent from the previous season. Out of 49 million Americans who suffered flu during this season, around 959,000 patients required hospitalization and 79,400 died.

According to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in 2017 alone many people died due to diseases such as lower respiratory infections (pneumonia and influenza). Most of the people who died with diseases were over 50 years of age. Herpes zoster also caused a few deaths.

It is not just US that faces the problem of low vaccination rates among adults. Less than half of countries worldwide publicly recommend that older adults be vaccinated against influenza.  Influenza vaccination rates in adults over 65 in countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development range from as low as 2.8 percent in Estonia to as high as 84 percent in Korea.  Countries such as the US, UK, Australia, etc. have adopted life course vaccination whereas middle and low income countries are less likely to include adult vaccination. An analysis from the International Vaccine Access Center showed that few of them have influenza or pneumonia vaccine programs for adults. But clinicians and other health care professionals are reluctant to recommend vaccines to adults due to lack of incentives and concerns about cost, effectiveness, and safety.

The United Nations reports say that the above 60 population may more than double between 2017 and 2050, growing to more than 2 billion people. Among adults over age 70, vaccine-preventable lower-respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia were the fifth leading causes of death in 2017.

Despite the awareness about the value of life course immunization, many countries are slow in providing funds for vaccines for adults. Many high-income countries and some middle-income countries recommend adult vaccination against pneumonia but the coverage is suboptimal.

Sufficient focus is not there on child immunization over the past 10 years. The  technical commodity with partners like WHO, infectious  disease experts, economists, researchers, and the healthy aging community has to present consistent advice on  vaccination to countries. Even in low income countries, there is a need for evidence for delivery of both immunization and  preventive healthcare  and plan an integration  into other  investment in the healthcare system.

Adopting adult immunization and life course vaccination must become a priority for political parties. Global health policy makers who are now working on a new vision and strategy for vaccines and immunization for the decade should come to the forefront and raise their voice. The International Council on Adult Immunization has experts from fields like healthy aging, infectious disease, economics, and social science gathered at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with the objective of synthesizing available data on these trends and the medical, economic, and social consequences of adult vaccines. Based on this work, a group will call for global recommendations from the WHO and healthy aging organizations on the actions countries need to implement immunization planning into health strategies. These recommendations aim at   increasing the adoption of  vaccines for adults and this work is expected to extend beyond  influenza, pneumonia, and shingles to encompass potential vaccines against HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, Ebola, respiratory syncytial virus, and cytomegalovirus. The WHO has declared that between 2021 to 2030 there will be healthy aging and with a growing adult population in most parts of the world, it is a necessity.

To prevent unnecessary deaths and improve public health, the U.S. and other countries should consider life-course vaccination seriously and it is an approach to ensure that immunization programs are effectively implemented for people at all ages and stages of life. With support from a reliable medical transcription company, physicians can keep their vaccination records up to date. They offer customized services at affordable rates and also help physicians and other healthcare professionals to focus more on providing quality patient care and service. It also helps in building a strong doctor patient relationship.


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