The Association of Immunization Managers (AIM), representing the 64 federally-funded state, local and territorial public health immunization programs, commends the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for creating a specific 16-year-old immunization column in the recommended vaccination schedule.
CDC released the 2017 Children and Adolescent Immunization Schedule adding the specific 16-year-old column to replace the previous 16-18 year-old column. The simplification allows providers and parents to more clearly understand the timing of vaccination and encourages a routine vaccination visit at age 16.
“We hope that a 16-year-old immunization platform visit will result in more routine vaccination of adolescents,” said Executive Director Claire Hannan. Currently, only one third (33%) of eligible adolescents receive the recommended second dose of meningococcal vaccine, less than 35% receive the recommended doses of HPV vaccine, and less than half received influenza vaccine during the 2015-16 flu season. Teens need the second dose of meningococcal vaccine to be fully protected against the deadly meningitis A, C, W, and Y strains. HPV vaccinations could prevent around 12,000 cases of cervical cancer and approximately 4,000 deaths. “Assessment and vaccination at age 16 will save lives,” said Hannan.
Recent AIM survey results and ongoing development of an Adolescent Resource Guide demonstrate that many state/local/territorial immunization programs are engaging in activities that address older adolescent vaccination. “Immunization program managers are always looking for ways to improve and enhance vaccination rates,” said AIM Research and Development Director Dr. Katelyn Wells. “A recently conducted focus group of program managers viewed the new 16-year-old platform visit as a unique opportunity to increase adolescent immunization rates and improve preventive care in young adults. We look forward to working with the Adolescent Immunization Initiative and partners such as the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine to promote and implement the 16-year-old immunization platform.”