Quality Health Communication Is Critical to Optimal Adult Immunization

Jan 17, 2024 | News

In an editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine, CUNY SPH Distinguished Lecturer & PRI Communications Faculty Co-Lead Scott Ratzan and colleagues call for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to “raise its persuasive communications game” on adult immunization to clinicians and the public. They argue that disseminating scientific information alone will not suffice in the present environment of disinformation and low trust in public health.

The editorial is in response to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule, unveiled in an article in the same journal edition. The authors argue that the schedule misses an opportunity to provide physicians with useful communication guidance around adult vaccines and to address co-administration of influenza, RSV, and COVID-19 vaccines.

Ratzan and team say the recent formation of the Council for Quality Health Communication and the Coalition for Trust in Health and Science, which seek to advance health communication using evidence-based communication and media technologies, is a testament to the need to upgrade health communication.   

“Simply ‘informing’ people about immunization schedule changes is not enough,” the authors write. “We need a coordinated, national effort to apply our understanding of current attitudes toward vaccination and implement new health communication strategies that use a full palette of techniques to build vaccine literacy and encourage greater acceptance.”

Read the full editorial here.