Ohio — The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases is
aiming to boost pneumonia vaccination rates among at-risk
Ohio Cardiovascular Specialists is among the groups working
with the national nonprofit, led by Dr. Thomas File, chair of
the infectious disease division at Summa Health System in
of the project is to educate patients "to see what we can
do to increase the uptake of utilization of this vaccine for
patients who are at greater risk for complications," said
File, who is serving a two-year term as president of the
national group. "I consider this part of the
heart-healthy preventive measures."
pneumococcal disease vaccine is recommended for people older
than 18 who have underlying conditions — including chronic
heart disease — that put them at higher risk for
complications from infection, File said. The vaccine also is
recommended for everyone 65 and older.
File said, studies have shown less than 20 percent of patients
with underlying disease who are younger than 65 get the
vaccine, despite the recommendations.
awareness, the national group worked with the Akron cardiology
practice to develop an educational sheet that can be shared
with patients, File said. Ritzman Pharmacies and Walgreens
then will report whether the number of pneumococcal vaccines
they administer increases.
vaccine is often covered by insurance companies for at-risk
patients, File said.
of our goals is to increase public awareness of the importance
of these preventive vaccines," File said.
pilot project is successful, he said, "it can potentially
be used nationwide."
nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants will
share information with the practices’ patients to let them
know the vaccine is recommended by the American College of
Cardiology and the American Heart Association, said Dr.
William B. Bauman, executive board co-chair for Northeast Ohio
agrees it’s something we should strive for with our cardiac
patients," he said.
project is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from
Pfizer Inc., but National Foundation for Infectious Diseases’
policies prohibit funders from controlling programs.