The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have approved and released 2019 recommendations for the adult immunization schedule in the United States. An overview of the recommended schedule can be found in a new edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

ACIP Vaccine Recommendations: Overview

In the 2019 update, the ACIP provides 3-step instructions on how to use the recommended vaccine schedule, a brand new Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule by Age Group (Table 1) and Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule by Medical Condition and Other Indications (Table 2), as well as recommendations for the influenza and hepatitis A and B vaccines, and an overview of vaccination coverage rates since 2015.

The new schedule features a simplified cover page that contains 3-step instructions on how to use the schedule. The new versions of Tables 1 and 2 use the same colors as previous iterations but have changes for improved cognition and notes pages with a larger font, made possible by the removal of the table of contraindications and precautions for vaccines recommended for adults. The cover page refers readers to www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/general-recs to access the information on vaccine contraindications and precautions.

Influenza Vaccination

Part of the ACIP update included recommendations for the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). Although LAIV was not recommended in the US during the 2016 to 2017 or 2017 to 2018 influenza seasons, any licensed flu vaccine is now recommended for the 2018 to 2019 season if it is appropriate for the age and health status of the patient being immunized. Individuals who are not recommended to receive the LAIV are those with immunocompromised conditions (eg, HIV infection), an anatomical or functional asplenia, are pregnant, have received influenza antiviral medications in the previous 48 hours, have a cerebrospinal fluid leak, or have a cochlear implant. In the 2019 ACIP recommendations, routine administration of LAIV is recommended on an annual basis in all individuals aged ≥6 months who do not have contraindications to receiving the vaccine. 

Hepatitis B Vaccination

The single-antigen recombinant hepatitis B vaccine with a novel cytosine-phosphate-guanine 1018 oligodeoxynucleotide adjuvant (Heplisav-B®, Dynavax®) was recommended in February 2018 by the ACIP for preventing hepatitis B in adults. Heplisav-B is administered in 2 doses that are ≥4 weeks apart, a regimen approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in November 2017. Heplisav-B may be used as a substitute with a different hepatitis B vaccine in a 3-dose series, “but a valid 2-dose series requires 2 doses of Heplisav-B with at least 4 weeks between them,” the ACIP task force wrote in their paper. The ACIP did recommend Heplisav-B in pregnant women with an indication for the immunization due to the lack of safety data on the vaccine in this population. The ACIP also noted that indications for the hepatitis C vaccine were similar to those for the hepatitis B vaccine and may be administered in a 2- or 3-dose series depending on the vaccine.

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Hepatitis A Vaccine

While the ACIP recommended the addition of homelessness as an indication for hepatitis A vaccination with either a 2-dose series of single-antigen vaccine or a 3-dose series of hepatitis A and B in 2018, additional populations have been included in the update. Populations with an increased risk for the hepatitis A virus or severe hepatitis A disease include individuals with chronic liver disease or clotting factor disorders, have close personal contact with an international adoptee in the first 60 days after arrival from a country with high hepatitis A virus prevalence, are travelers in countries with high or intermediate hepatitis A virus prevalence, are men who have sex with men, routinely use injection or non-injection drugs, and individuals who work with hepatitis A virus in a laboratory setting. Any individual who wants to be vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus may also be vaccinated.