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Standards for Practice: Vaccine Needs Assessment

ALL Healthcare Professionals Should:

  • ASSESS immunization status of all patients at every visit.
  • Strongly RECOMMEND vaccines that patients need.
  • ADMINISTER needed vaccines or REFER to a provider who can immunize.
  • DOCUMENT vaccines received by your patients.

Assessment is the critical first step in ensuring that your adult patients get the vaccines they need for protection against serious vaccine-preventable diseases.

Your patients' vaccination needs will change over time based on factors such as:

  • Age
  • health conditions
  • lifestyle
  • travel
  • occupation

Adults think immunization is important, but most are not aware of all the vaccines they need. They rely on you to tell them which vaccines are recommended for them.

Whether you provide vaccines or not, assess immunization status at every clinical encounter.

TIPS and RESOURCES for Improving Vaccine Assessment in Your Practice

  • Stay informed. Get the latest CDC recommendations for immunization of adults.
  • Implement standing orders [3 pages] or protocols. Make vaccine assessment and vaccination a routine part of patient office visits.
  • Give your patients a vaccine questionnaire [2 pages] to complete at check-in. Help identify vaccines your patients may need based on factors, such as upcoming travel or changes in medical conditions.
  • Use reminders [4 pages] to help your practice stay on top of needed vaccines. Generate reminders using a computer system (electronic health record), immunization registries, or make a note of needed vaccines on a patient's vaccination chart.
  • Send your patients reminders about needed vaccines. Help keep vaccines on your patients' radar and encourage them to stay up-to-date.
  • Assess how your practice is doing. Review a sample of patients' charts or analyze electronic health record data for your practice to see whether your patients are up to date on needed vaccines. Check out the CDC Comprehensive Clinic Assessment Software Application (CoCASA) tool.

Download the Vaccine Assessment [2 pages] factsheet.

See The Community Guide to learn more about these and other evidence-based strategies for improving vaccination rates.

Test your knowledge with a Medscape case-based challenge on vaccine assessment.

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