Identifying barriers to adult pneumococcal vaccination: an NFID task force meeting

Postgrad Med. 2012 May;124(3):71-9. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2012.05.2550.


Pneumococcal infection is common in adults, and invasive disease is associated with a high mortality rate. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine can prevent invasive pneumococcal disease and is recommended for people aged ≥ 65 years and for younger adults with high-risk chronic conditions; however, vaccination rates are suboptimal in all of these groups. A multidisciplinary task force meeting examined ways to increase vaccination rates in the target populations. Barriers to vaccination include lack of awareness of the disease or vaccine among vaccination candidates and health care providers, failure to assume responsibility for vaccination, competing priorities, incomplete or inaccessible documentation of previous vaccines, and health care system delivery challenges. Efforts to address these barriers should use appropriate methods. For example, potential vaccine recipients might be motivated by a message from a community leader, whereas health care providers are more apt to offer a vaccine when reminded that it is a recommended best practice. All health care providers need to accept responsibility for vaccination so that this preventive measure becomes a high priority in the care of patients at risk for serious pneumococcal infection.

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Pneumococcal Infections / mortality
  • Pneumococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*


  • Pneumococcal Vaccines