Adolescents can be a difficult population to reach, as evidenced by vaccination rates for the age group. A new whitepaper highlights steps physicians can take to promote vaccination compliance and health responsibility among teens.
Judy Klein, president and treasurer for the Unity Consortium, a non-profit organization aimed at increasing awareness and compliance with adolescent vaccinations, said Unity’s whitepaper, “Adolescent Immunization: Understanding Challenges and Framing Solutions for Healthcare Providers,” shows that there is more that healthcare providers can and should do to improve vaccination coverage for teens and young adults.
“The paper summarizes a number of solution-based practices that have proven successful in clinical practice and provides a call to action for healthcare providers to evaluate their immunization practices,” Klein told Medical Economics.
The call to action, dubbed the INSPECT imperative, outlines steps clinicians can take to help increase vaccine compliance and stands for immunization, neighborhood, sharing, platform, education, champions and talk.
Like adults, less than half of adolescents receive the flu vaccine, and only Tdap vaccination meet the goals set forth in the federal HealthyPeople 2020 initiative with 80% compliance—due in part to state mandates for middle school entry.
Experts acknowledge the need to improve adolescent immunization rates and have outlined strategies to achieve this, but research from Unity also shows that 34% of teens still don’t understand the need for vaccination, and 41% of parents believe their adolescents only need to visit the doctor when sick or injured, thus reducing the opportunity healthcare providers have to discuss preventive measures such as vaccination. Adolescents are also a tough audience, with 92% reporting that they trust the recommendations of their doctor, but 47% admitting that they don’t like talking to healthcare providers.