National Immunization Awareness Month: The Importance of Convenience

Chris Whitman, Director, Marketing and Sales Planning, US, Sanofi Pasteur

 

National Immunization Awareness Month begins right before kids head back to school, so it’s a timely reminder for parents and healthcare professionals to see that children are protected against serious infectious diseases. As both a parent and someone who works each day toward a world where no one suffers from a vaccine-preventable disease, I know the importance of immunization. It is through my work I am keenly aware and saddened as many children remain under-vaccinated, which leaves them vulnerable to disease.1,2,3 For instance, in 2015 there were 6,448 new cases of pertussis (whooping cough) reported in kids 6 years of age and younger.4

 

Several of these diseases, like diphtheria, pertussis, poliomyelitis, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) require a multi-dose immunization series to help protect children during the years they are at increased risk.3 According to the CDC, while children often receive a first dose of the recommended vaccine, a number of them do not complete the series.1,2 For example, there is an 11 percent immunization coverage drop-off from the third to fourth dose of diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP), and a 12 percent drop-off from the primary to full series of Hib vaccine.2

 

Convenience is an important factor in helping children stay up-to-date on their immunizations – for both the busy parents arranging doctor’s appointments, and for physicians who face demanding patient schedules. In fact, the World Health Organization asserts that inconvenience is one of the causes of vaccine hesitancy.5 It’s essential to make vaccination convenient for parents to help protect their children, as well as healthcare providers, who need to fit in more patients during the busy back-to-school season.

 

Combination vaccines are one way to help make immunization more convenient for both. With combination vaccines, families can potentially save an extra dose and eliminate a trip to the doctor. As a father of three, it’s a constant struggle for me and my wife to balance schedules and get the kids to soccer practice, piano lessons and swim class, so I know the value of convenience. Ultimately, the health of my children always comes first – which I know is how most parents feel – but when I can save a trip to the doctor and still meet the health needs of my kids, it makes our day just a little easier. Reducing the number of vaccine injections in a multi-dose series also provides more convenience for physicians in helping streamline practice operations. It can lead to stocking fewer vaccines, which helps with process standardization, increased staff efficiency and prevention of administration errors.6

 

This is why I’m so proud to work for a company which is committed to helping protect more children from vaccine-preventable diseases. We do that both by improving vaccines and making immunization more convenient by helping simplify the vaccine schedule to eliminate another trip to the doctor – especially when getting our children ready to go back-to-school can be plenty busy. It’s through the innovative ways we create vaccines and through educating the public about the burden of disease and the value of immunization that we’re able to work toward a world where no one suffers or dies from a vaccine-preventable disease.

 

References


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccination Coverage Among Children in Kindergarten — United States, 2015–16 School Year. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6539a3.htm. Accessed June 13, 2017.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccination Coverage Among Children Aged 19–35 Months — United States, 2015. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6539a4.htm. Accessed June 13, 2017.

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2016 Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth Through 6 Years Old. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/downloads/parent-ver-sch-0-6yrs.pdf. Accessed June 13, 2017.

4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2015 Final pertussis surveillance report. https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/downloads/pertusssurv-report-2015.pdf. Accessed May 25, 2017.

5 World Health Organization. Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy. http://www.who.int/immunization/programmes_systems/vaccine_hesitancy/en/. Accessed June 13, 2017.

6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). General Recommendations on Immunization: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6002a1.htm. Accessed July 26, 2017.

 

 

Date: 
Tuesday, August 8, 2017