CDC updates adult vaccine recommendations
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) recently released an updated vaccination schedule for adults 19 and older.
“These updates to the CDC schedule provides physicians a great opportunity to discuss vaccines and vaccine boosters with their adult patients,” says Dr. Olufemi Aboyeji, an infectious disease specialist at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill. “Many are aware of the importance of childhood vaccinations, but don’t realize how beneficial they can be to adults, as well. Some may need boosters for shots they’ve already received, as effectiveness can wane over time. And there are also new vaccines being created, to which they may not have had access as a child.”
The new recommendation on the HPV vaccine targets young adults. Previously, two HPV vaccines were available and prevented up to 66 percent of cervical cancers. The additional protection in the newer 9-valent vaccination offers protection against five other strains of the virus, which are responsible for 15 percent of cervical cancers.
The schedule continues to recommend that all females between the ages of 13 and 26, and all men between 13 and 21, should receive the HPV vaccine, if previously unvaccinated. The update simply adds another option for those who want increased protection.
“HPV, along with the hepatitis B vaccine, is among the very first vaccines that are proven to prevent cancer, which is hugely important,” says Dr. Aboyeji. “HPV is very common in the general population, so the more strains we can protect against, the better. All parents and young adults should talk with their doctor about which HPV vaccination is right for them.”
Like the HPV vaccine, the pneumococcal vaccination is available in different forms. One protects against 13 strains of the disease and the other against 23. Which vaccine is best for a patient is determined by a number of factors, including age. The CDC’s only change to this vaccine is a modification to the interval patients need to wait between shots.
Previously, the meningococcal vaccine was only recommended for high risk groups, but the AICP made a slight shift in their recommendations, making a more broad recommendation for young adults between 16 and 23 years old. They now also recommend a new meningococcal vaccine, MenB, for people over 10 who are in high risk groups.
“Navigating the adult vaccination schedule can be very tricky, and these updates only touch on three of many available immunizations,” says Dr. Aboyeji. “For adults, some vaccinations are recommended across the board, typically based on age. But for others, there are personal risk factors to consider.”
Dr. Aboyije says each person should work with their physicians to ensure they’re up to date, at all ages.
Dr. Aboyije also adds that the CDC has a tool online, called the Adolescent and Adult Vaccination Quiz, which can be a good starting point for these crucial conversations.
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