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Programs to Increase Pneumococcal Vaccination Rates in Veterans


Jacob Morton, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, Antibiotic Stewardship Outcomes Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center, clinical pharmacy research specialist, Wesley Healthcare, discusses programs to improve pneumococcal vaccination rates in veterans.
Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)
“I think the next steps really are just programs that are targeted to improve vaccination rates in our veterans as well as in all older adults or adults with risk factors. The vaccination rate is variable for pneumococcal disease, but previous studies in veterans have shown low vaccination rates. One study that we did showed a vaccination rate of approximately 35%; that is certainly below what the recommended vaccination rates are for the United States.
I think programs that targeted increasing vaccinations in veterans as well as older adults is extremely important. There is a recent study that just came out that looks at the impact of universal funding for vaccines in Australia. Basically what [this] showed was that a program implemented to fund those vaccinations increased vaccination from 35% to 55%. While it’s still not really where the vaccination rates should be, it certainly showed a substantial increase. I think in our veteran population (which we studied) who have lots of comorbidities, a program that would potentially fund pneumococcal vaccination would certainly, I think, help to prevent pneumococcal disease, and thus, poor outcomes, such as mortality in these patients.”
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