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Feature Article

Immunisation for life: don’t forget adults

Melina M Georgousakis, Jane Jelfs, Kristine K Macartney

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Abstract

Vaccination of adults is important for lifelong health as missed schedules, pregnancy, ageing and other factors put patients at risk of preventable diseases. Changes in funding and availability of vaccines mean that GPs are key providers in achieving higher vaccination rates.

Key Points

  • Reasons for adults requiring vaccination include incomplete childhood schedules, waning immunity, medical and lifestyle risk factors, travel and immigration.
  • Low rates of adult vaccination can be improved but remain a challenge.
  • GPs face a number of barriers in the delivery of adult vaccinations, including lack of opportunity to identify vaccination requirements, public misconceptions about the need for vaccination and the complexity of funding and catch-up programs.
  • The increase in the number of vaccines recommended for adults means that GPs need to develop strategies to immunise adults at every opportunity.

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