A Cooperative Agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently awarded a cooperative agreement to the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS), a coalition of 45 specialty societies representing more than 800,000 physicians across healthcare to improve vaccination among high-risk adults. This five-year cooperative agreement includes $22 million in funding in the first year (with an estimated $55.5 million over five years) to support increased COVID-19, influenza, and routine vaccinations in high-risk adults with chronic medical conditions. As part of the request for proposal, CDC specifically requested engagement of specialty society partners that care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and chronic kidney disease, as well as older adults, and staff in occupational health settings.
The recent pandemic demonstrated the higher risk of mortality and severe morbidity for older patients and those with chronic medical conditions. Vaccine-preventable illnesses persist even though effective vaccines are available for COVID-19, influenza, pneumonia, and others. Though data on COVID-19 vaccination for adult patients with chronic illnesses are not available, CDC noted that approximately half of adult patients with chronic illnesses failed to receive influenza vaccination in 2019-2020. With increasing concerns about vaccine coverage and vaccine hesitancy, these data suggest significant opportunities for systematic improvement in vaccination for adult patients, especially for high-risk patients. Given known disparities in influenza vaccination among Black and Latino adults (1), coupled with the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on these communities, focused strategies are needed to address equity in adult vaccination.
Since 2014, CDC’s Standards for Adult Immunization Practice (2) noted the critical role that all health professionals play in assessing, recommending, administering or referring for vaccination, and documenting vaccination. While vaccination is a core element of the review of clinical preventive services in primary care, specialists may not prioritize vaccination assessment and administration. The role of professional organizations is specifically mentioned in the CDC Standards for Adult Immunization Practice. Specialty societies that care for patients with chronic illness can provide more targeted continuing education and clinical guidance to ensure that specialty physicians play a greater role in immunization of these high-risk patients.
The purpose of this project is to ensure that all adults, especially high-risk adults with co-morbidities, receive up-to-date vaccinations for influenza, COVID-19, and all applicable vaccines. CMSS will serve as the lead organization for this project and serve as a catalyst to work with 45 member societies, seven collaborating subspecialty members, and partnering healthcare systems to incorporate the Standards for Immunization Practice into clinical care and drive adult immunization through education, dissemination and quality improvement initiatives.
During this project, CMSS will work collectively with a strong consortium of subspecialty partners, including American Association of Clinical Endocrinology (AACE), American College of Cardiology (ACC), American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), American Geriatrics Society (AGS), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), American Society of Nephrology (ASN), and the American Thoracic Society (ATS), to implement targeted immunization and quality improvement strategies and activities which will support increased vaccination of high-risk patients.
To support this aim, these seven subspecialty partners will partner with healthcare systems to develop, promote, and implement quality improvement platforms to improve adult vaccination. CMSS and our subspecialty partners will develop and update vaccine policy statements to promote implementation of Standards of Adult Immunization Practice; promote continuing education, resources and strategies; train vaccine immunization champions to promote outreach and education with subspeciality providers; and convene national and regional meetings to share best practices and lessons learned with the CDC, our 45 member specialty societies, and the greater medical community.
CMSS and specialty society members are grateful to CDC for their leadership and support of adult vaccination and ensure high-risk adults have up-to-date vaccinations.