Date: August 4th, 2015
As we recognize National Immunization Awareness Month in August, the Alliance has released a groundbreaking new paper titled Our Best Shot: Expanding Prevention through Vaccination in Older Adults.
Vaccinations are considered an essential component of our health system, protecting us from diseases such as influenza, chickenpox, and measles. Getting their kids vaccinated is a routine part of life for most parents, and increasing vaccination rates in children remains an area of high importance among medical experts and organizations.
However, there is another demographic where vaccinations serve an important role: the 65 and over population. Vaccines help protect older adults against influenza, pneumonia, tetanus, and shingles. But despite this fact, vaccination rates among older adults are much lower than current targets set by the U.S. government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Vaccinations are available for many of the most common and deadly infectious diseases in older Americans and can save countless lives and health care dollars,” says Susan Peschin, MHS, president and CEO of the Alliance. “We need to raise the level of importance of immunization among seniors to the level we currently have for children, and then we need to make some basic changes to support it.”
The new white paper, which was authored by Richard Manning, Ph.D., partner, Bates White Economic Consulting, LLC, provides a comprehensive overview of the factors that drive vaccination underutilization in seniors and offers a list of recommendations on how industry, government, and health care experts can improve patient compliance.
The paper, which was formally introduced at a Capitol Hill briefing on July 29, has begun to attract attention, including a recent story on the PBS online site Next Avenue and an interview Peschin did on the SiriusXM Insight channel.