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September 2014
Patient Care and Science
NVAC Standards for Adult Immunization: What Do They Mean for the ID Specialist?
With influenza season upon us, now is an excellent time to talk to patients and colleagues about the importance of protecting adults through immunization.

The National Vaccine Advisory Committee’s (NVAC) standards for adult immunization (PDF), which IDSA played a role in drafting, provide guidance to health care providers across the spectrum of care. IDSA recommends that all ID specialists ensure that their patients are immunized according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended schedule. In addition, all IDSA members should assume an active leadership role in improving adult immunization practices by educating other clinicians and health care system managers about the NVAC standards and by facilitating implementation of recommended measures in their own practice settings, health care systems, and communities.

IDSA recommends that all ID specialists adopt the following NVAC standards as practicable: 
For all health care providers including ID specialists:
  • Incorporate immunization needs assessment into every clinical encounter.
  • Strongly recommend needed vaccines, and either administer vaccines or refer the patient to a provider who can immunize.
  • Stay up-to-date on, and educate patients about, vaccine recommendations.
  • Implement systems to incorporate vaccine assessment into routine clinical care.
  • Understand how to access immunization information systems (i.e., immunization registries).
For ID specialists who normally immunize patients:
  • Ensure professional competencies in immunizations.
  • Assess immunization status in every patient care and counseling encounter, and strongly recommend needed vaccines.
  • Ensure that receipt of vaccination is documented in the patient medical record and immunization information system.
For ID specialists who are unable to immunize their patients directly:
  • Routinely assess the immunization status of patients, recommend needed vaccines, and refer the patient to an immunizing provider.
  • Establish referral relationships with immunizing providers.
  • Follow up to confirm patient receipt of recommended vaccines.

For additional resources on the standards and adult immunization, see:
-National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit
-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
-IDSA Policy and Advocacy on Immunization

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