How will you help protect your patients from this potentially devastating disease?
Start by identifying your practice’s booster vaccination rate and then increasing it:
• Compare the number of adolescent patients in your practice versus the amount of meningococcal vaccine you order
• Comb your EMRs for under-vaccinated 16- to 18-year-old patients and flag these patients for follow-up
• Implement a protocol to check every older adolescent’s chart and flag those who have not received a booster dose
Once you’ve established your practice’s booster vaccination rate, it is important that you set a goal and share the information with your staff. Remind them to talk to patients about meningococcal disease and to vaccinate at every opportunity. Don’t forget that sick visits are often a great opportunity to “catch” adolescents who don’t come in for well visits as often as younger children.
In 2010, the ACIP recommended that adolescents receive 2 doses of meningococcal vaccine: the first at 11 to 12 years of age and the second at 16 years of age. The second dose is recommended because at a critical time, immunity to meningococcal disease may wane: studies have shown that protection provided by the primary vaccination given at 11 to 12 years of age decreases over time. In fact, approximately 50% of older adolescents may be under-protected against meningococcal disease 5 years after primary vaccination—the same time they enter their peak period of risk for this disease.
References: 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prevention and control of meningococcal disease: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR. 2013;62(RR-2):1-28. 2. CDC. Updated recommendations for use of meningococcal conjugate vaccines—Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2010. MMWR. 2011;60(3):72-76. 3. CDC. National, regional, state, and selected local area vaccination coverage among adolescents aged 13–17 years—United States, 2013. MMWR. 2014;63(29):625-633. 4. Sanofi Pasteur Inc. Data on file (2nd dose immunization rates), April 2013. MKT26442.