Stakeholder Roundtable: Improving Adult Immunization Rates

by Center for Policy and Research

August 27, 2015

Influenza, pneumococcus, and hepatitis B are highly communicable diseases that carry a heavy burden on the health care delivery system for adults ages 65 years and older at increased risk for these diseases. An estimated 90% of all seasonal flu-related deaths and between 50% and 60% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations in the U.S. occur in people ages 65 years and older. In 2014, flu-associated hospitalization rates among people 65 years and older were the highest recorded since The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began tracking these rates in 2005.Many of the 175,000 hospitalizations each year result from pneumococcal pneumonia with a case-fatality rate of 5% to 7% annually. The case-fatality rate is much higher among adults 65 years and older. For those at high-risk, hepatitis B can be 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV.

  • Influenza, pneumococcus, and hepatitis B are highly communicable diseases, and a heavy burden for adults ages 65 years and older at increased risk. All these conditions are preventable with appropriate vaccination.
  • Team-based care where immunizations are provided at convenient locations and by multiple providers can improve access to adult immunizations.
  • Multiple communication channels, including social media, can be used to educate providers, consumers, and the media about adult vaccine safety and efficacy.
  • Improving adult immunization rates is a national priority. In 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Vaccine Program Office drafted a five-year, national strategic plan to improve protection against vaccine- preventable diseases among adults.