According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), more than 50,000 adults in the United States die from vaccine-preventable diseases or their complications each year, and nearly 36,000 people die from complications of seasonal influenza. The current comprehensive U.S. adult immunization schedule includes vaccination for 16 infectious diseases. Despite the availability of these vaccines, many adults remain unvaccinated against preventable infectious illnesses.
Health care professionals who work in the ambulatory care setting have an opportunity to screen unimmunized patients at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases and intervene. In order to be most effective, health care professionals must remain abreast of the frequently updated recommendations for adult immunization from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. This activity highlights the latest recommendations for four important adult vaccines: influenza; pneumococcal; herpes zoster; and tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccines, and will discuss vaccination strategies for specific immunocompromised patients and immunization considerations for health care personnel are also discussed.