Immunizations are a cornerstone of our nation’s disease prevention efforts and have demonstrated a long track record of success as a cost-effective means of reducing disease burden and saving lives. This fact sheet provides information on what Congress and the Administration can do to reduce financial barriers to adult immunization and improve adult vaccination rates.
Despite the well-known benefits of immunizations, more than 50,000 adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases while adult coverage remains below Healthy People 2020 targets for most commonly recommended vaccines (influenza, pneumococcal, tetanus, hepatitis B, herpes zoster, HPV). Millions more adults suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases, causing them to miss work and leaving them unable to care for those who depend on them. At risk populations, including the elderly, are particularly vulnerable to the adverse health consequences of vaccine preventable disease.
Unvaccinated adults can unknowingly spread vaccine-preventable diseases to children who are too young to be immunized or to immunocompromised persons. Low adult immunization rates not only impact unvaccinated individuals themselves but also have repercussions for families and entire communities.
Adults seeking access to and coverage for vaccines encounter a confusing health care system that presents multiple barriers, including lack of adequate information about recommended vaccines, financial hurdles, and technological and logistical obstacles.
With the aging of the U.S. population, the public health impact of vaccine preventable diseases and their complications among adults is likely to grow unless we quickly and substantially improve access to and utilization of adult vaccines, especially among Medicare beneficiaries. Download the Fact Sheet.