Unity Consortium’s Don’t Wait. Vaccinate. campaign encourages adolescents to catch up on missed well visits and vaccinations

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Now is the time for adolescents to catch up on missed vaccines

Now is the time to catch up on missed vaccines.

Unity Consortium Don't Wait. Vaccinate.

Adolescents should get their vaccinations now so that they are ready for sports, camps and in-person school.

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Unity™ Consortium has launched a Don’t Wait. Vaccinate. campaign to encourage adolescents and young adults to catch up on missed well visits and immunizations. The CDC recommends annual visits, but many adolescents and young adults have missed routine well visits and vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Well visits are down one-third compared to pre-pandemic visits with adolescents lagging in recovery behind other age groups. Routine vaccinations for adolescents have declined as much as 20%, but the risks from vaccine-preventable diseases remain.

The Don’t Wait. Vaccinate. campaign targets adolescents and young adults and their parents with information about the importance of adolescent vaccines as well as the urgency of catching up and the safety of recommended vaccines. Annual well visits help keep teens healthy as they receive time-sensitive immunizations and screenings during the visit. The campaign urges parents and adolescents to schedule missed immunizations now as some vaccines may be needed to return to school for in-person learning, sports, camps and other activities. Materials for the campaign can be found at https://www.unity4teenvax.org/dontwaitvaccinate/ and in Spanish at https://www.unity4teenvax.org/en-espanol/. In addition, the campaign provides materials to healthcare providers to help them reach out to patients who may have missed well visits and vaccinations.

“Summer is when many adolescents typically go for their well visits and vaccinations. Busy adolescents and young adults may not have time to catch up on missed vaccines this summer,” said Judy Klein, President of Unity Consortium. “Staying up to date on routine vaccines that protect against illness, such as meningitis and HPV-related cancers, is critical. And adolescents ages 12 and older can also get the COVID-19 vaccine. Adolescents should get their vaccinations now so that they are ready for sports, camps and in-person school.”

A Unity study shows that many parents remain concerned about getting COVID-19 at the doctor’s office or clinic. Three-quarters of parents and teens believe it is important to safely visit the doctor, but 1 in 3 parents don’t feel safe visiting the doctor or indicated that well visits are not urgent right now. Healthcare providers have taken measures to ensure patient and family safety. Contact your healthcare provider to learn more about the steps taken.

In addition, vaccine hesitancy is on the rise. The Unity survey shows parents (61%) and teens (64%) have expressed increasing concern with vaccine safety, with many citing social media as a driver. Most parents report they would consider getting themselves and their teens vaccinated with a future COVID-19 vaccine, but not necessarily right away. Almost one in five report they do not plan to get a vaccine for their teen.

“Kids grow out of many things but not vaccines, yet many adolescents are falling behind on their vaccines,” said Klein. “The Don’t Wait. Vaccinate campaign aims to raise awareness and build confidence so we can get adolescents up to date on routinely recommended vaccines as well as the COVID-19 vaccine.”

About the survey
The Pandemic Impact on Parent and Teen Beliefs on Adolescent Preventive Care, Routine Vaccination and COVID-19 Vaccination Wave 2 survey was conducted online in February 2021 among 300 teens aged 13-18 and 531 parents of teens. Comparisons were made to Wave 1, which was fielded in August/September 2020.

About Unity Consortium
Unity™ Consortium is a non-profit organization that unites diverse groups around a common passion - the imperative to protect against all vaccine-preventable diseases to support lifelong health. Our members represent public and private organizations, industry, academia, healthcare providers, retailers and advocacy groups. As one strong voice, Unity Consortium addresses the unique challenges surrounding adolescent and young adult health, prevention and immunization. For more information, visit us as https://unity4teenvax.org.

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Patricia Caballero

Judy Klein
since: 06/2014
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