Low Adult Vaccination Rates Put the Nation’s Health and Economy at Risk

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5223

AAFP Joins the Adult Vaccine Access Coalition

Washington, D.C. — Every year, more than 50,000 adults die from vaccine preventable diseases and thousands more suffer serious health problems that could have been prevented by getting recommended immunizations(www.cdc.gov). In response, the American Academy of Family Physicians has joined a diverse group of health care providers, vaccine makers, pharmacies, public health organizations, and patient and consumer groups to support the launch of the Adult Vaccine Access Coalition (AVAC).

“We have the ability to stop vaccine preventable diseases, but none of us can do it alone,” said Wanda Filer, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “As a coalition, we can significantly increase adult vaccination rates. Together, we will prevent needless suffering and save lives.”

Adults seeking access to and coverage for vaccines encounter a confusing health care system that doesn’t provide enough information about recommended vaccines and presents many financial, technological and logistical obstacles. The goal of AVAC is to foster an inclusive partnership of organizations to inform and engage federal policymakers in working toward common legislative and regulatory solutions that will strengthen and enhance access to and utilization of adult immunization services across the health care system.

The AVAC’s policy priorities include:

- Build – AVAC is committed to improving reporting of adult vaccinations to state immunization registries and encouraging greater utilization of health information technology to track adult vaccination status and improve patient outcomes and care.
- Measure – AVAC supports strengthening and the establishment of additional federal benchmarks and measures to encourage health plans to track, report and achieve increased adult immunization rates.
- Access – Encourage initiatives aimed at boosting adult immunization rates among minority, vulnerable and at-risk populations.

AVAC Members Include:
American Academy of Family Physicians, American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Pharmacists Association, American Public Health Association, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Dynavax Technologies, GSK, Hep B United, Hepatitis B Foundation, Immunization Action Coalition, Infectious Diseases Society of America, League of United Latin American Citizens, March of Dimes, MedImmune, Merck, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Alliance for Caregiving, National Association of School Nurses, National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Black Nurses Association, National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians, National Council of Urban Indian Health, National Council of Urban Indian Health, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Indian Health Board, National Minority Quality Forum, National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, Novovax, Pfizer, PhRMA, Sanofi Pasteur, Scientific Technologies Corporation, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, The Gerontological Society of America, Trust for America's Health, Walgreens.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.  To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).