ACIP Updates Recommendations for Adult Vaccines

Diana Swift


February 03, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released an updated schedule for adult vaccines. The update includes changes regarding the administration of several vaccines, including those for influenza, human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis A and B, and meningitis B, as well as the pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate (PCV13) vaccine.

The schedule, revised annually by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the CDC, was simultaneously published online February 3 in the Annals of Internal Medicine and on the CDC website.

Perhaps the change most likely to raise questions is that concerning the PCV13 vaccine. "Owing to a decline in prevalence of the types covered by the PCV13 vaccine, this is no longer routinely recommended for all persons age 65 and older," senior author Mark Freedman, DVM, MPH, of the Immunization Services Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, at the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, told Medscape Medical News.

For purposes of shared clinical decision, however, it should be discussed with previously unvaccinated seniors who do not have risk factors, such as an immunocompromising condition, a cerebrospinal fluid leak, or a cochlear implant.

"But the circumstances for use of the vaccine are not always clear even based on the detailed list of considerations provided, because it's impossible to think of every conceivable combination of risk factors," Freedman added.

Possible beneficiaries of this vaccine are vulnerable elderly people living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities and those living in or traveling to settings in which the rate of pediatric PCV13 uptake is low or zero.

All adults in this age group should continue to receive a single dose of the pneumococcal 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine.


The advisory committee now recommends catch-up immunization for women and men through age 26 years (the previous cutoff for men was 21). And in another new recommendation, the ACIP advises considering vaccination for some patients aged 27 to 45 years who have not been adequately vaccinated.

"Most people ages 27 to 45 do not need vaccination, but some may benefit," Freedman said. "For example, somebody who's been in a prior long-term monogamous relationship and suddenly finds himself with a new sexual partner."

"That makes very good sense for older people who haven't been vaccinated and might continue to be exposed to HPV," Daniel M. Musher, MD, a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and an infectious diseases physician at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas, told Medscape Medical News.

Here again, the ACIP advises taking a shared decision-making approach, with clinicians discussing the merits of vaccination in this and other scenarios with patients according to the talking points outlined in the HPV section.

Influenza, Hepatitis A and B

For the 2019–2020 influenza season, routine influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months or older who have no contraindications. Where more than one appropriate option is available, the ACIP does not recommend any product over another.

Routine hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 1 year or older who have HIV infection regardless of their level of immune suppression.

For hepatitis B vaccine, a new addition to the list of vulnerable patients who may possibly benefit from vaccination is pregnant women at risk for infection or an adverse infection-related pregnancy outcome. Whereas older formulations are safe, the ACIP does not recommend the HepB-CpG (Heplisav-B) vaccine during pregnancy, owing to the fact that safety data are lacking.

Meningitis B

Individuals aged 10 years or older who have complement deficiency, who use a complement inhibitor, who have asplenia, or who are microbiologists should receive a meningitis B vaccine dose 1 year following completion of a primary series. After that, they should receive booster doses every 2 to 3 years for as long as they are at elevated risk.

Vaccination should be discussed with individuals aged 16 to 23 years even if they are not at increased risk for meningococcal disease. Persons aged 10 years or older whom public health authorities deem to be at increased risk during an outbreak should have a one-time booster dose if at least 1 year has elapsed since completion of a meningitis B primary series.

Td/Tdap, Varicella

The ACIP now recommends that either the Td or Tdap vaccine be given in cases in which currently just the Td vaccine is recommended; that is, for the 10-year booster shot as well as for tetanus prophylaxis in wound management and the catch-up immunization schedule, including that for pregnant women.

Vaccination against varicella should be considered for HIV-infected individuals who are without evidence of varicella immunity and whose CD4 counts are ≥200 cells/mL.

Musher, who was not involved in drafting the recommendations, takes issue generally with the addition of shared clinical decision making on vaccination. "Shared decision making is a problem for anyone practicing medicine. It places a terrible burden [on] the doctors to discuss these options with patients at great length. Most patients want the doctor to make the decision."

In his view, this approach makes little sense in the case of the PCV13 vaccine because the strains it covers have disappeared from the population through the widespread vaccination of children. "But discussions are important for some vaccines, such as the herpes zoster vaccine, since patients can have a terrible reaction to the first dose and refuse to have the second," he said.

Some of these new recommendations were released in 2019 after ACIP members met to vote on them in February, June, and October.

As in previous years, the schedule has been streamlined for easier reference. Physicians are reminded to closely read the details in the vaccine notes, as these specify who needs what vaccine, when, and at what dose.

The ACIP develops its recommendations after reviewing vaccine-related data, including the data regarding the epidemiology and burden of the vaccine-preventable disease, vaccine effectiveness and safety, the quality of evidence, implementability, and the economics of immunization policy.

The authors have received grants and expense payments from public and not-for-profit institutions. One coauthor has received fees from ACI Clinical for data and safety monitoring in an immunization trial. Musher has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Ann Intern Med. Published online February 3, 2020.

CDC. ACIP Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines. Full text

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