Most American adults are not benefitting from one the world’s most effective health interventions: immunization through vaccination.
From polio to chicken pox, pneumonia to shingles, and other diseases, vaccines have repeatedly proven their power to dramatically improve health and quality of life by preventing – and even eradicating, in the case of smallpox – serious diseases. Yet gaps in US vaccination rates among adults persist, driven even further downward during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only an estimated 22% of adults in the US are up-to-date on their shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rates are even lower among Black (16%) and Hispanic adults (17%), placing a disproportionate burden of vaccine-preventable diseases on populations who already face other inequities within the healthcare system.
During the pandemic, for example, many Black Americans had to drive longer distances to COVID-19 vaccine centers than White Americans. Overall, the barriers standing in the way of more American adults being immunized can be complicated. Key factors have included complex vaccine schedules, misunderstandings about vaccine “seasonality,” and issues with equity and accessibility to recommended vaccines.
The promise of vaccines is fully realized when everyone can get vaccinated. That is the future we are determined to achieve. Every person deserves to live a healthy life, and every community deserves the opportunity to be protected."
Supporting disease education to help narrow the gap
Education and the availability of resources is a crucial step in helping communities implement tangible solutions and further shape routine immunization for adult vaccines. To help increase uptake of non-seasonal adult vaccines, we’ve made an infographic on year-round adult vaccination (PDF 156KB), which will support operationalizing the US adult immunization schedule.
Along with other disease education materials, GSK also commissioned a white paper with CapView Strategies, “Optimizing Adult Immunizations in the US – Building on Recent Coverage Expansions.” (PDF 515KB) The paper outlines the current vaccine coverage landscape in the US and offers tangible solutions for addressing adult immunization gaps.
By sharing data, resources and other insights, we can empower public agencies, health organizations and communities, equipping them with actionable models to help bring successful adult immunization efforts to scale.
Facilitating broader collaboration and enhanced data transparency
As part of our commitment to foster broader collaboration and enhanced data transparency, we are opening our Vaccine Track platform – the first comprehensive single platform to track and provide adult vaccination trends – to include data from across external collaborators. Vaccine Track provides quarterly analyses of claims data for multiple US adult vaccines compared to 2019 pre-COVID vaccination rates. Our aim is to gather more data and different perspectives on vaccination trends from various public and private industry stakeholders so we can highlight communities with the largest gaps and help provide best practices and potential solutions.
higher in Q1 2023 vs Q1 202215%
Data from Vaccine Track shows improvements in adult vaccination rates in the beginning of 2023, which may be due to public-private collaborations and policy changes such as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which have helped remove some historical barriers to vaccination. For example, average monthly claims for recommended adult vaccines (excluding flu) increased on average by 15% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, according to the latest data from Vaccine Track.
But there is still more work that can be done. Vaccine data transparency remains more important now than ever before as 11 states were still seeing claims reductions for recommended vaccinations for adults (excluding flu) from pre-pandemic levels. Full-year 2022 data also suggested that most of that year’s adult vaccinations took place during the flu season in fall and winter — a practice known as vaccine “seasonality” — indicating missed vaccination opportunities year-round.
Our hope is that the COiMMUNITY Initiative will support cross-industry and stakeholder collaboration to help close adult immunization gaps nationwide. When older adults miss opportunities to vaccinate, we risk complications from preventable diseases."
Setting a new standard
GSK recognizes that the industry must play a bigger role in dismantling these barriers, and as a leader in infectious diseases and vaccine innovation, we are committed to setting a new standard. With our COiMMUNITY Initiative, we are designing a more systematic, collaborative and equitable approach to help increase vaccination rates. Our multipronged initiative uses grant funding, increased data transparency through enhanced collaborations, and resource-sharing opportunities to create healthier communities.
This work is ambitious, and collaborations with community organizations, public and private partners, and other industry stakeholders will be crucial to our long-term success. The COiMMUNITY Initiative includes a commitment of up to $1 million in grant funding to support national, state, and local non-profit organizations and community-based non-profit groups focused on adult immunization and health equity. Grant proposals will be reviewed and approved on a rolling basis until mid-November of 2023. The grant application process is now open on www.gskfunding.com.
“We believe the COiMMUNITY Initiative will contribute to a more equitable and resilient public health infrastructure and bolster existing partner efforts — leading to more vaccinated adults,” said Len. “These non-profit organizations know their communities best. Their leadership in establishing interventions to enhance vaccines access, awareness, and trust was critical during the pandemic, and we look forward to using these grants to help sustain their essential work.”
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