Immunization programs in the United States have markedly reduced the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases in children. Today, a substantial percentage of the remaining morbidity and mortality from several of these diseases occurs in older adolescents and adults who escaped natural infection or immunization during childhood and who are now at increased risk of these diseases because of lifestyle, advanced age, the presence of certain chronic diseases, or occupation (e.g., healthcare workers).1-3 Other vaccine-preventable diseases primarily affect persons older than 20 years of age; for these diseases, the targeted risk groups for immunization are predictably adults.4
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s final rule regarding bloodborne pathogens mandates that all OHCP who may be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious material (OPIM) in an occupational setting be vaccinated against the hepatitis B virus.5 Furthermore, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) highly recommends routine vaccination against influenza, varicella, zoster, measles/mumps/rubella, tetanus-diphtheria, pertussis, and the human papillomavirus (HPV).4,6 The vaccination of OHCP against meningococcus, pneumococcus, and the hepatitis A virus are recommended under special circumstances.4,6
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