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Immunization Newsletter - Adolescent Immunization


July 25, 2017

In This Issue...

Vaccinating Teens
Online Resources

IAFP Online Education

IAFP is pleased to offer online immunization education modules, including one about Adolescent Immunizations! Visit cme.iafp.com to sign up for a free account and earn your CME today.


Vaccinating Teens: Where We Are and Where We Need to Go

As of 2016, it is recommended that adolescents receive Tdap, MCV4 (2 doses), HPV (3 doses), Influenza (annually), and any necessary catch-up of childhood vaccines. There are several challenges to vaccinating adolescents, including knowledge, school requirements, access, and parental concerns surrounding HPV.

Overall, there is a lack of knowledge regarding recommended vaccines for adolescents on the part of parents, teens, and even some practitioners. A lack of knowledge can heighten fear and concern and cause misconceptions about the diseases from which the vaccines protect. As most adolescent vaccines are not required by schools, many parents feel that "if it were important, the schools would require it." Generally, it is difficult to get healthy teens in the door to receive the vaccines as most adolescents do not have regular health care visits. Only 8.4% of all reported physician visits by 11 to 18-year-old patients are coded as "preventative" care. There is often a particular difficulty in making sure vaccine series (such as HPV) are fully completed.

Some parents are concerned with giving their child the HPV vaccine. They feel that sex during adolescence is for "other peoples' kids." It is best to emphasize that the HPV vaccine is about cancer prevention and really should be administered before their children become sexually active. The provider's recommendation is critical in many situations where the parents may hesitate. Some parents are concerned about the vaccines safety and view the HPV4 vaccine as "new." The MCV4 (meningococcal) vaccine was only licensed one year prior to HPV4 and both are part of two vaccine safety monitoring programs.

The US Preventative Services Task Force released recommendations for interventions designed to improve vaccination coverage. They include:

  • Client reminder/recall (charts, computer, email)
  • Multi-component interventions that include education
  • Methods to provide assessment and feedback to providers (e.g., retrospective evaluation of performance)
  • Standing orders for non-physician personnel to describe or deliver vaccinations without direct physician involvement at the time of interaction

These recommendations, along with offering vaccinations during other visits, such as acute care, prescription renewals, etc., engaging pharmacists as partners, and considering alternate immunization sites, such as schools, aim to increase overall vaccination rates among the adolescent population.


Online Resources


IDPH Resources

CDC Resources


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