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August 2009
Vol. 19 No. 8
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Updated Guideline for Immunizations Released

A new IDSA guideline reviews newly licensed vaccines, good clinical practices, methods to overcome barriers, and complementary immunization settings. The updated guideline for immunization programs for infants, children, adolescents, and adults appears in the Sept. 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases and is now available online.

Many of the revised sections provide health care professionals with improved standards of care and immunization practices. The majority of the changes affect immunization schedules and the allowances for vaccine administration, such as:

  • the use of new licensed vaccines (e.g., human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine; live, attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV); rotavirus vaccine; herpes zoster vaccine; and combination vaccines)
  • the recommendation that all young children and certain families of international adoptees receive the hepatitis A vaccine
  • the recommendation that all children 6 months through 18 years of age receive influenza vaccine
  • the inclusion of several vaccines in the adult and adolescent immunization platforms

“These IDSA guidelines were prepared for use by all health care professionals who care for people of all ages to ensure they receive optimal protection against vaccine preventable diseases,” said Larry Pickering, MD, FIDSA, lead author of the guideline. Several recommendations address the responsibility and education of health care professionals. Health care professionals should consistently maintain a high level of expertise in the field and also receive recommended immunizations themselves. This is a basic component of health care that offers protection for providers and their patients from vaccine preventable diseases.

The guideline also highlights the importance of educating patients about immunization. For example, the recommendations urge that vaccine information sheets be provided and potential adverse events be explained to patients whenever a vaccine is administered. Also, tables and figures address standards for immunization practices, availability of vaccines, and methods for vaccine administration.

Several performance measures are included in the guideline. Most importantly, new vaccine recommendations should be implemented by providers within 6 months of a published recommendation, each practice should measure the immunization rates of patients on a regular basis, and immunizations should be entered into state-wide immunization information systems. These goals emphasize the need for continued monitoring of immunization standards and practice.

The guideline is available online. Other IDSA guidelines also are available on the Standards, Practice Guidelines, and Statements page of our website.
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