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Advancing Adolescent Health Spring Forum Position Statement

Advancing Adolescent Health Spring Forum Position Statement

This Position Statement is a summary of the considerations and recommendations that emerged from the Advancing Adolescent Health Spring Forum, held in May 2017 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Position Statement includes a Call to Action for improving adolescent immunization coverage.

“Vaccination during adolescence is the best investment in health, the best investment in prevention…but mainly, it’s an investment in the promotion of health for the next generation.”

– Dr. Evelyn Eisenstein

Vaccination during adolescence is the best investment in health, the best investment in prevention…but mainly, it’s an investment in the promotion of health for the next generation.”

Dr. Evelyn Eisenstein

Advancing Adolescent Health Spring Forum Position Statement

SUMMARY

Prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) should be a healthcare imperative in adolescents, not only to protect them from current illness, but also to prepare them for both life-long immunization and ownership of personal healthcare as a norm. Whereas progress in improving adolescent health has been made, immunization coverage remains low and there is room for improvement.

This Position Statement is a call to action for improving adolescent immunization rates. Information on VPDs and vaccines should be readily available to adolescents and their families. Education and communication about all aspects of adolescent healthcare are a public health imperative and an ethical obligation. The panel suggests that Healthcare Providers (HCPs) play a pivotal role by proactively addressing these issues face-to-face with parents and adolescents, emphasizing the benefits of immunization compared with safety aspects and the dangers of remaining susceptible to VPDs. Future work for the panel will include developing recommendations derived from the identified common elements of successful adolescent immunization programs. These were explored in a second export forum in the fall of 2017. There the panel further assessed the feasibility of putting these suggestions into action.

A CALL TO ACTION FOR HCPs

The Call to Action arising from the Advancing Adolescent Health Spring Forum recognizes that prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases should be a healthcare imperative for adolescents – not only to protect them from current illness, but also to prepare them for both life-long immunization and ownership of personal healthcare as a norm. It acknowledges that education and communication about all aspects of adolescent healthcare are a public health imperative and an ethical obligation.

  • Immunization (primary, booster, and catch-up, as appropriate) should be a high priority during all medical encounters with adolescents;
  • HCPs should proactively discuss the benefits and risks of all available adolescent vaccines and listen to adolescent/parents to understand their perspectives;
  • Public health efforts should be aimed at increasing the availability of credible information about VPDs and vaccines relevant to adolescents;
  • Promising practices for adolescent immunization should be identified and disseminated;
  • Leadership in adolescent immunization should be cultivated at the local, regional, national, and global levels;
  • A bottom-up approach should be encouraged, where the experience and insight of front-line providers should be accessed; this includes those who work in vaccine clinics, doctors’ offices, schools, pharmacies, public health clinics, and community agencies.
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POSITION STATEMENT