Improving adult vaccination

Dr Holly Seale1

1 School of Public health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Level 2, Samuels Building, Sydney, NSW, 2031.  


Immunisation is recommended throughout life to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD), VPD-associated morbidity and mortality and to prevent ongoing transmission of infections within the community. Despite achieving excellent infant and childhood vaccine uptake, national vaccination coverage in adults is suboptimal, thus making adults susceptible to VPDs and important modes of transmission of infection. For example, many of the cases of measles identified in Australia have been in adults who have travelled overseas. Achieving optimal vaccination coverage in adults has proven especially challenging.

It is well known that a vaccination recommendation, or lack thereof, by a health care professional is the most influential factor for most patients determining whether to vaccinate or not. In Australia, the bulk of immunisation is given in the primary care setting, so this recommendation is often coming from a GP. However, our adult vaccine coverage rates are not improving and potentially could be going backwards. Therefore, we are proposing that we need to expand the settings that we communicate about immunisation and/or deliver vaccination beyond the primary care setting. Already we have seen a move towards increased delivery in the pharmacy setting, however we may need to explore other settings including hospitals and also including other stakeholders as champions for adult immunisation.

This presentation will explore the key gaps in adult immunisation, the known factors contributing to them and some strategies that could be considered going forward.



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