There’s Still Room for Improvement on Adult Vaccination Rates

September 27, 2023 · NCQA Communications

A lot of adults were vaccinated against COVID-19 during the pandemic: 95% of adults 65 and older—and 92% of adults 18 and older—got at least one shot.

That’s a remarkable achievement, especially considering low vaccination rates for other recommended vaccinations for adults. The 2018 National Health Interview Survey reports the following coverage estimates:

  1. 31% of adult 19 and older reported receiving the Td/Tdap vaccine.
  2. 46% of adults 19 and older reported receiving the influenza vaccine.
  3. 24% of adults 50 and older reported receiving the herpes zoster vaccine.
  4. 69% of adults 65 and older reported receiving the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine.

What Can We Learn From the Pandemic?

Vaccinations are critical for preventing disease and hospitalizations, but many adults skip recommended vaccines.

How can we extend high pandemic vaccination rates to the post-pandemic world? What can the success of COVID-19 vaccination strategies teach us about other vaccines? Can we use those strategies to get more adults to roll up their sleeves—for influenza, Tdap, shingles or pneumococcal shots?

We brought a group of experts together in a roundtable who helped answer these questions. Our roundtable had two goals:

  1. Understand the major barriers to adult vaccination.
  2. Identify best practices to increase adult vaccination rates.

Recommendations from the roundtable, summarized in a new white paper, “Improving Adult Vaccine Rates: Incorporating Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” can help health plans, health systems and providers move the needle on adult vaccination rates.

What Have We Learned?

Strategies put in place during the COVID-19 public health emergency can be leveraged to improve rates for other adult immunizations. For example, one roundtable panelist mentioned that “[During COVID-19 vaccine rollout], [pharmacy-run] mobile units would drive into neighborhoods and deliver vaccines in home rather than making the patient come to a health care provider.” This is just one example of an effective intervention that can be adapted to improve rates for other adult recommended vaccines.

The white paper presents evidence-based strategies lifted straight from the COVID-19 vaccination playbook. It outlines specific actions for plans and providers to drive better vaccination rates among adults, including:

What’s Next?

NCQA encourages health plans, providers and health systems to:

  • Download and read the white paper.
  • Watch our September 28 webinar about the paper’s recommendations.
  • Listen to our podcast episode featuring some of the people behind this work.

The Adult Immunization roundtable and resulting white paper were sponsored by Pfizer, Inc.






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