Millions of U.S. teenagers currently are undervaccinated. Family physicians can address this shortfall by discussing recommended vaccines with teens and their families during annual exams, but this conversation can sometimes prove difficult to fit into a packed appointment with patients this age.
To help family physicians educate teens and their families about the importance of getting the vaccines recommended for their age group, the AAFP Foundation launched its Highlight on VACCINATIONS 4 TEENS program on June 27.
With support from Sanofi Pasteur, 15 AAFP chapters each received a $5,000 grant to bring the program to their members and, thus, help boost vaccination rates in their states.
The CDC recommends that four vaccines (two of which are given in a multi-dose series) be routinely given to teens. They are:
- meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) vaccine;
- HPV vaccine;
- tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine; and
- seasonal influenza vaccine.
- The AAFP Foundation launched its Highlight on VACCINATIONS 4 TEENS program on June 27 to help family physicians promote adolescent immunizations.
- With support from Sanofi Pasteur, 15 AAFP chapters each received a $5,000 grant to bring the program to their members.
- All AAFP members can access to the program's resource library on the AAFP Foundation website.
Yet despite these recommendations, the most recent coverage figures from the CDC(www.cdc.gov) indicate that
- only 33 percent of adolescents who received the first dose of the MenACWY vaccine received the second dose;
- only 42 percent of girls and 28 percent of boys completed the HPV vaccine series; and
- less than half of teens were vaccinated against the flu.
As for Tdap, even though 86 percent of teens received the Tdap booster, there is still room to improve.
"It's difficult to see children are still suffering, and in some cases dying, from vaccine-preventable diseases," said AAFP Foundation President S. Hughes Melton, M.D., M.B.A., in a news release.(www.prnewswire.com) "It's our job as health care professionals to help keep our patients healthy, and this includes providing the recommended immunizations at the right time. Programs like this are so impactful by providing the indispensable support family physicians need to help protect more teens."
The AAFP Foundation's Family Medicine Philanthropic Consortium selected the 15 AAFP chapters that received the program's inaugural grants, which included funding to allow these chapters to host a multidisciplinary panel discussion featuring local immunization champions and family members who have been affected by undervaccination.
Highlight on VACCINATION 4 TEENS 2017 Recipients
In its inaugural year, the AAFP Foundation's Highlight on VACCINATIONS 4 TEENS program awarded fifteen $5,000 grants to help members increase immunization rates for the four CDC-recommended teen vaccines. The following chapters received grants:
- California AFP
- Colorado AFP
- Georgia AFP
- Illinois AFP
- Indiana AFP
- Kansas AFP
- Maryland AFP
- Mississippi AFP
- Montana AFP
- Nevada AFP
- New Jersey AFP
- New York State AFP
- Oklahoma AFP
- Pennsylvania AFP
- Utah AFP
Additionally, all 129,000 AAFP members can access to the program's resource library http://www.aafpfoundation.org/foundation/our-work/grants-awards/all/HighlightonVaccinations4Teens/HOV4TResourceLibrary.html on the AAFP Foundation website. The resource library is intended to support family physicians, their care teams and office staff in conversations with teens and their families about recommended immunizations.
Educational videos are featured to help health care professionals navigate the 2017 Recommended Immunization Schedule for Children and Adolescents Aged 18 Years or Younger and discuss recommended immunizations with their patients.
The resource library also includes patient educational materials, such as appointment reminders, testimonials from families that have been directly impacted by undervaccination, office posters and digital content.
"This program couldn't come at a more important time, as most of Oklahoma's adolescent vaccination rates fall even lower than the national averages," said Kari Webber, deputy director of the Oklahoma AFP -- one of the grant recipients -- in the release. "This program helped provide the tools we need to highlight this issue among our members and prepare them to proactively initiate conversations with their teen patients. As a result, some of our members have introduced new standing orders within their own practices to keep their teen patients up-to-date on immunizations."
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