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Published: July 14, 2023

AAFP: New Supplement Offers Latest COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations

From AAFP (July 13, 2023):

July 13, 2023, News Staff — To help family physicians prepare for National Immunization Awareness Month in August, the Academy has published updated guidance on COVID-19 vaccines in the July/August issue of FPM. The free, online-only supplement features the latest vaccine recommendations, along with tips on communicating the importance of vaccination to patients.

The guidance recommends that generally, individuals 6 months and older should stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination, including at least one dose of a bivalent mRNA vaccine. Two bivalent mRNA vaccines are currently available via an amended FDA emergency use authorization.

For people 6 years and older who are not immunocompromised, a single dose of bivalent mRNA vaccine is sufficient to consider them up to date regardless of previous vaccination status. Adults 65 and older who are not immunocompromised may receive an additional booster dose at least four months after their first dose of bivalent mRNA vaccine.

People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may require additional primary and booster doses, based on patient age and the vaccine used.

Bivalent mRNA vaccines are preferred unless contraindicated. Adults who cannot or will not receive an mRNA vaccine may receive a protein vaccine.

The guidance also offers three best practice tips:

  1. Standardize your messaging. Consider naming a vaccine champion to educate and encourage staff; strongly recommend and provide COVID-19 vaccines and direct patients to a resource such as Vaccines.gov if COVID-19 vaccines are not available in the practice.
  2. Practice opportunistic vaccination. Review patient risk factors and immunization histories, and strongly recommend vaccination for patients who are not up to date.
  3. Plan ahead. Because COVID-19 vaccine formulations may be updated for the fall, use the summer to prepare for co-administration of COVID-19 and influenza vaccines during the upcoming flu season, and to reassure patients about vaccine safety monitoring.

The guidance document is the latest in a large collection of Academy resources on COVID-19 vaccines. For clinicians, these include a free online CME activity on improving COVID-19 vaccination rates in children ages 6 months through 5 years and a quick conversation guide on COVID-19 vaccinations for children 6 months and older. Patient-centered materials on familydoctor.org include articles on COVID-19 vaccines for children younger than 5 years, information for parents and debunking vaccine myths.

The AAFP has several additional resources in development as National Immunization Awareness Month approaches. Make sure to bookmark the Academy’s Immunizations and Vaccines webpage and to visit AAFP News and the AAFP Media Center for the latest news and information.

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