In the February 7 issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued revised vaccine schedules for adults consistent with current scientific findings. The CDC made the revisions after recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a national advisory panel of medical and public health experts.
Nasal flu vaccine
The CDC recommends against adults using the nasal flu vaccine following studies showing it to be “mostly ineffective” in lessening or preventing flu in adults.
Flu vaccine for people with egg allergies
People with mild to serious egg allergies may be vaccinated by “any age-appropriate flu vaccine” but should take the vaccine in the presence of a healthcare provider who can recognize and appropriately treat any allergic or bad reaction to the vaccine.
This vaccine protects against human papilloma virus (HPV) and certain types of cervical cancers. After studies showing the vaccine’s effectiveness, the CDC, along with the American Cancer Society (ACS), have advised that only 2 doses of the vaccine, instead of the original 3 recommended doses, are necessary if the doses are administered to adolescents between the ages of 9 and 14 years of age who also receive the second dose at least 5 months after the first dose. This applies to both girls and boys.
For young adults not vaccinated as adolescents, the CDC and ACS still recommend the full 3 doses, for women up to age 26, and for men through age 21.
To help prevent meningococcal disease, a potentially fatal bacterial infection affecting the brain and spinal cord, the CDC recommends 2 doses of MenACUY for HIV-positive adults.
Adults with chronic liver disease
In addition to adults infected with Hepatitis B, the CDC now recommends other adult chronic liver disease patients take the Hep B vaccine series including adults infected with the Hepatitis C virus; and those affected by cirrhosis of the liver; fatty liver disease; alcoholic liver disease; autoimmune hepatitis; and people with elevated levels of certain liver enzymes.
It is also important to note that only 20% of adults aged 19 and over have received the Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
Dr. David Kim, the advisory report’s lead author and CDC deputy associate director for adult immunizations, stressed the importance of annual immunization, especially the flu vaccine for pregnant women, older adults, and those suffering from chronic health conditions. Dr. Kim explained, “All adults need immunizations to help them prevent getting and spreading serious disease that could result in poor health, missed work, medical bills, and not being able to care for family.”