Improving Vaccination Rates Among Adult Non-Health Care Consumers

Because of their impact on public health, immunizations are considered one of the greatest medical achievements of modern civilization.1,2 Since this vital medical intervention became available in the 18th century, there has been a significant decrease in the incidence, prevalence, morbidity, and mortality of vaccine-preventable diseases.1Between 1924-2019, more than 103 million cases of smallpox, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A, diphtheria, and pertussis are estimated to have been prevented thanks to the introduction of vaccines. In recent years, immunizations have helped prevent between 2 and 3 million deaths annually in the United States.3,4 In addition, endemic transmission of polio and rubella has been eradicated from the United States, and smallpox has been eradicated worldwide.1

Although childhood vaccination programs have helped contribute significantly to the positive impact of vaccines on public health, there are no formalized vaccination delivery programs for adults. As a result, vaccination rates are low among this patient population, increasing their susceptibility to serious illness and complications.5Furthermore, vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, have seen a resurgence over the last decade due to waning vaccination.6

On average, 50,000 Americans die of vaccine-preventable diseases each year, of which more than 99% are adults.1 Therefore, it is crucial that pharmacists understand the barriers impacting immunization rates among adults and actively engage in strategies to improve vaccination rates not only among high-risk groups but also among non–health care consumers (ie, those who are otherwise healthy and do not regularly seek out health care services).

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