October 19, 2007 / 1:14 AM / 12 years ago

New U.S. vaccine guidelines for adults released

In this file photo doses of a flu vaccine lie on a table as San Luis Obispo County public healthcare professionals conduct a mass flu vaccination drill at the Veterans building in San Luis Obispo, California October 31, 2006. REUTERS/Phil Klein

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has released the 2007-2008 recommended immunization schedules for adults in the US, according to a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The schedule, which is established each year by the CDC, has been endorsed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American College of Physicians (ACP).

Key changes in this year’s schedule include:

—Varicella (chickenpox) vaccination is recommended for all adults with no apparent immunity to the virus.

—Zoster (shingles) vaccination is advised for all adults 60 years of age and older, regardless of whether they have had a prior shingles episode.

Other points in the report highlight the licensing in 2006 of a vaccine shown to prevent cervical cancer and a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine for adults, new indications for flu vaccination, and recommendation of a second dose of mumps vaccine for adults working in a health care facility.

“Physicians should be aware of the schedule, know that it has been recently updated and advise their patients of the appropriate vaccines. Patients should ask their physician about adult immunization and what vaccines are appropriate for them,” Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, a member of the ACP Adult Immunization Advisory Board, said in a statement.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Gregory A. Poland, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and Dr. William Schaffner, from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, comment that “the US childhood immunization program is a remarkable success. Achieving the same level of success in adult immunization will be very difficult and will require hard work at every level from professional organizations ... to the individual practice.”

SOURCE: Annals of Internal Medicine, October 18th online issue, 2007.

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