Expanded recommendations for vaccination and gaps in vaccination coverage necessitate education and changes to medical practices.
Vaccination coverage in the United State is high, but in the face of the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as pertussis and measles, the existing gaps in the vaccination coverage of the US population have become worrisome. Gaps exist because not every patient who needs a vaccination gets it at the recommended age. Moreover, the recommendations for new vaccines, including vaccines for influenza and human papillomavirus (HPV), have been expanded. Parental concerns over some controversial vaccines such as the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) combination vaccine for which a link to autism has been suggested, and the human papilloma virus vaccine, which may be connected to premature ovarian failure, can also affect overall vaccine coverage. Updated vaccination guidelines, as well as patient and provider education are needed, since many new vaccines such as the HPV and shingles vaccines have been introduced over the last 15 years while several hundred more vaccines are in various stages of clinical development.
In a changing care environment, PDI can help your customers protect their patients with timely vaccinations.
PDI’s field-based medical sales representatives and inside medical sales representatives from our healthcare contact center can increase adoption of vaccines by responding to questions and concerns. The can also work with providers and payers to give those patients who would otherwise have a financial barrier to vaccination access to the vaccines they require. Our clinical health educators (CHEs) can provide expert education on vaccination programs and vaccine scheduling for physicians and patients.
To increase immunization rates, we must build sustainable systems for vaccination within the context of a changing healthcare system. Here some recommended steps toward achieving this goal:
- Assessment of the actual vaccination rate in a provider’s practice
- Consistently making recommendations for timely vaccinations to both the parents of pediatric patients and adult patients
- Standing orders for non-physician personnel to carry out vaccinations at the scheduled time without physician involvement
- Educating physicians on emerging research of vaccine risks, and on how to interact with parents who are concerned about the detrimental effects of the MMR and HPV vaccines
- Educating physicians about state-sponsored and other programs that can help patients overcome financial barriers to vaccination