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Vaccine-Preventable Deaths Total 30,000 a Year

Update Date: Feb 06, 2014 12:01 PM EST

Vaccines were created to protect people of all ages from potentially dangerous infections. Despite the many different agencies that promote vaccines, a new study is reporting that there are still too many deaths caused by diseases that could have been prevented with the help of a vaccine. The researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine stated that the vaccination rates continue to remain low, which could become a serious public health concern.

For this study, research Laura Hurley, MD, MPH, and her colleagues created a national survey with the help of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The team wanted to examine why adult vaccination rates remained low over the years. Every year, an average of 30,000 people die from a vaccine-preventable illness with about 95 percent of these cases being adults. The survey was designed for primary care physicians and collected information on how doctors recorded vaccination status. The survey also asked the physicians about how they stocked 11 recommended adult vaccines that were available in 2012.

The researchers found that for physicians who worked at smaller, private practices, finances affected how many vaccines they carried in the office. The researchers also reported that one of the most common reasons why physicians had to refer their patients elsewhere for a particular vaccine was due to any issues with vaccine reimbursement. The lack of vaccines could then affect adult vaccination rates.

"Our study suggests that missed opportunities for adult vaccination are common because vaccination status is not being assessed at every (physician's) visit, which is admittedly an ambitious goal," said Hurley, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of medicine at the CU School of Medicine reported by the press release. "Also, most physicians are not stocking all recommended vaccines."

The researchers concluded that addressing vaccine availability in doctors' offices could help increase adult vaccination rates and decrease mortality rates. The findings were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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