Test Yourself: What Adult Needs What Vaccine?

Robert H. Hopkins, Jr., MD


August 06, 2014

When to Assess

There are many missed opportunities to vaccinate adult patients. Therefore assessing your patients' vaccination status at every clinical encounter is important and can really make a difference:

  • Many adults do not schedule annual check-ups or come in for preventive services; therefore, it is critical to assess vaccine status whenever they do come in for a visit.

  • Some vaccines are indicated for adults on the basis of factors other than age, making it important to assess regularly whether your patients have had lifestyle, health, or occupational changes that may prompt the need for additional vaccines.

  • Vaccine recommendations for adults have changed frequently over the past decade and will continue to change on the basis of new evidence; your patients may not be up to date with the latest recommendations.

Routine immunization assessment can be integrated into your office workflow by taking a team approach. For example, you or your staff can:

  • Give patients a vaccine assessment form at check-in;

  • Implement standing orders or protocols for nursing staff to assess and administer needed vaccines; and

  • Integrate vaccine prompts or reminders into electronic medical records.

We invite you to participate in Have These Patients Been Immunized Appropriately?, the first of a case challenge series on adult immunizations.


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