The AAFP and six other medical and public health organizations have teamed up to publish a “Dear Colleague” open letter(2 page PDF) that encourages family physicians and other health care professionals to ensure that 16-year-old patients are seen for a well visit. During that visit, say the groups, these teens should receive vaccines recommended for them by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in its Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule for Ages 18 Years or Younger.(www.cdc.gov)
The Aug. 1 letter was signed by AAFP Board Chair Michael Munger, M.D., of Overland Park, Kan., along with officials from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College Health Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Pharmacists Association, Immunization Action Coalition and Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.
The call for well visits for 16-year-olds derives partly from the results of a JAMA Pediatrics study(jamanetwork.com) published in January 2018, which found that although adolescent well-visit rates increased from 41% before implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to 48% after implementation, those figures remain below recommended levels.
The organizations further state in their letter that a well visit at age 16 would allow physicians to administer catch-up doses of vaccines for HPV, hepatitis A and B, varicella, and other diseases.