Promoting better health

JAOA examines resources to improve pneumococcal vaccination rates

Not enough adults get the pneumococcal vaccine. Using standing order protocols could help, a JAOA supplement reports.


The AOA’s on-demand webinar program Call to Action on Pneumococcal Disease sought to empower DOs to become leaders in improving adult pneumococcal vaccination rates by implementing standing order protocols, according to a recent supplement of The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA).

Older adults often report not getting the pneumococcal vaccine because their physician did not recommend it. DOs who participated in the AOA’s Call to Action educational activity reported 50% or lower rates of pneumococcal immunization of adults older than 65—well short of Healthy People 2020’s goal of 90% immunization.

A high-risk group, adults age 65 and older should receive the Prevnar 13 (PPV13) first followed by a dose of Pneumovax 23 (PPSV23) ideally six months to a year later. Both vaccines are recommended for adults ages 19-64 with compromised immune systems, cerebral spinal fluid leak or cochlear implant. Patients who smoke or who suffer from chronic heart, lung or liver disease; diabetes; or alcoholism only need the PPSV23 vaccine.

Various tools can be used to break down barriers to adult vaccination. Standing order protocols, for example, allow nurses and other nonphysician medical personnel to assess a patient’s immunization status and administer vaccines without a physician.

Read the JAOA supplement for more information about the risk factors for pneumococcal disease in adults, barriers to vaccination, and strategies to improve vaccination rates.

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