General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization as an online report, available on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) web page (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/general-recs/index.html). The General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization replace the General Recommendations on Immunization, last published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) in 2011.

According to ACIP Executive Secretary Amanda Cohn, MD, “The General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization is a living document, and releasing it as an online report allows ACIP to update the document more quickly, giving vaccination providers the most up-to-date guidance on vaccination practice.”

The General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization goes beyond vaccination recommendations to give providers guidelines on vaccination practice. The document will help vaccination providers to assess vaccine benefits and risks, use recommended administration practices, understand the most effective strategies for ensuring that vaccination coverage in the population remains high, and communicate the importance of vaccination to reduce the effects of vaccine-preventable disease.

Changing the name to General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization better differentiates this document from ACIP’s vaccination recommendations, according to Dr. Cohn. “Because ACIP follows a different process for producing the General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization than for developing vaccination recommendations, the document’s name helps to illustrate this difference” said Dr. Cohn.

The updated guidelines include:

  1. New information on simultaneous vaccination and febrile seizures;
    2. Enhancement of the definition of “precaution” to include any condition that might confuse diagnostic accuracy;
    3. More descriptive characterization of anaphylactic allergy;
    4. Incorporation of protocols for management of anaphylactic allergy;
    5. Allowances for alternate route (subcutaneous instead of intramuscular) for hepatitis A vaccination;
    6. An age cutoff of 12 years through 17 years for validating a dose of intradermal influenza vaccine;
    7. Deletion of much of the storage and handling content, including information on storage units, temperature monitoring, and expiration dates (this content is now contained and continually updated in CDC’s Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit, available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/admin/storage/toolkit/index.html);
    8. Incorporation of the Infectious Diseases Society of America guidance on vaccination of persons with altered immunocompetence;
    9. Timing of intramuscular administration in patients with bleeding disorders;
    10. Updated data on vaccination record policy;
    11. Additional impacts of the Affordable Care Act on adult vaccination; and
    12. Updated programmatic contact information on source material for vaccine information.

Continuing education credit is available for the General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization. Details are available on the webpage.
Vaccination providers, immunization managers, and anyone interested in updates to the General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization may sign up to receive e-mail notifications whenever new information is released.

To receive updates on this and other ACIP recommendations and guidelines, sign up at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/index.html.