Vaccines save up to three million lives annually, yet more than $20 million in pediatric vaccines alone are wasted each year due to inadequate vaccine refrigeration, according to the U.S. Federal Vaccines for Children Program. Proper storage is pertinent to immunization effectiveness, and physicians must practice vigilant care when handling and dispensing vaccines.
There’s no question that the development of new and better vaccines was one of the greatest medical advancements in the 20th century. The only question is what will the 21st century hold for vaccines?
Most vaccines are designed to provide immunity from one specific disease or a group of diseases. In reality, vaccines often do much more. And yet, it’s hard to change perception; often, additional benefits and needs for a specific vaccine are found as more research is conducted.
The recent measles outbreak stemming from Disneyland in California provided a glimpse of what could happen if more individuals stopped vaccinating. The outbreak led to 117 individuals across multiple states being infected. Parents of infants and those with weak immune systems feared exposure. Although it is an unfamiliar feeling for those of us vaccinated, this event was an unfortunate reminder of life without access to vaccines.
For physician practices, the nature of business is changing. More patients are seeking care at alternative facilities, and more reimbursement for patients’ care is tied to performance metrics. As practices aim to remain profitable today, every penny counts. That’s where vaccine buying groups can assist.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States—so common that nearly every sexually active person will acquire it at some point in his or her life. When not cleared by one’s immune system, certain strains of the virus are linked to serious health issues including genital warts and numerous types of cancer.
All too often, the discussion on vaccines is centered solely on children. Certainly, the importance of childhood immunizations should not be diminished, but what about adults?
The scariest word for a primary care physician these days isn’t ACA, reimbursements, or even liability insurance. It’s attrition. The great migration of patients continues to shift from the primary care practice to other facilities. They will go where there’s quick and easy access to good care. In recent years, that has meant a migration to urgent care centers.