Commentary — Adult immunization: The need to address

Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics (formerly Human Vaccines)
February 2014  Volume 10, Issue 2

Adult immunization: The need to address
Bharti Mehta, Sumit Chawla, Vijay Kumar, Harashish Jindal and Bhumika Bhatt
Vaccination is recommended throughout life to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases and their sequel. The primary focus of vaccination programs has historically been directed to childhood immunizations. For adults, chronic diseases have been the primary focus of preventive and medical health care, though there has been increased emphasis on preventing infectious diseases. Adult vaccination coverage, however, remains low for most of the routinely recommended vaccines. Though adults are less susceptible to fall prey to traditional infectious agents, the probability of exposure to infectious agents has increased manifold owing to globalization and increasing travel opportunities both within and across the countries. Thus, there is an urgent need to address the problem of adult immunization. The adult immunization enterprise is more complex, encompassing a wide variety of vaccines and a very diverse target population. There is no coordinated public health infrastructure to support an adult immunization program as there is for children. Moreover, there is little coordination among adult healthcare providers in terms of vaccine provision. Substantial improvement in adult vaccination is needed to reduce the health consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases among adults. Routine assessment of adult patient vaccination needs, recommendation, and offer of needed vaccines for adults should be incorporated into routine clinical care of adults.