What Can Healthcare Providers Do to Help Improve Teen Vaccination Rates in Colorado?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released its annual report on adolescent vaccination coverage.
While it’s encouraging to see slight improvement in vaccination rates, too many Colorado teens remain under-vaccinated against serious infectious diseases. Rates are particularly low for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination series in Colorado – only 52.1 percent of girls and 44 percent of boys completed the HPV series. Nationally, just 39.1 percent of teens have received the recommended second dose of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY), which means they might not be protected against meningococcal meningitis. Additionally, in 2015, less than half of teens 13 through 17 years of age received the influenza vaccine.
Fortunately, a multidisciplinary group of
experts, including healthcare providers specializing in adolescent health and vaccination, have come together to address this issue by creating the Adolescent Immunization Initiative (AII). The AII’s mission is to work with stakeholders to firmly establish a 16-year-old immunization visit. The aim is to build a vaccination platform for this population, mirroring that of the already-established 11- to 12-year-old visit, which helped preteen vaccination rates exceed Healthy People 2020 goals. Instituting an established 16-year-old platform could help make vaccination a routine part of this very important visit and bring improvements to teens’ overall preventive care.
We can help bring this platform to fruition right here in Colorado by following the updated Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedule, which now includes a specific 16-year-old immunization visit. Using this visit as an opportunity to give the second dose of MenACWY and check on the completion of other vaccines can be an important way to help keep adolescents healthy.
You can learn more about the AII and establishing the 16-year-old platform here: Rationale for an Immunization Platform at 16 Years of Age.
Thank you for your work to help immunize more teens. Remember – every conversation is an opportunity to help protect another teen.