Evaluating Physician Attitudes and Practices Regarding Herpes Zoster Vaccination


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Abstract

Purpose:To investigate the knowledge, attitudes, and practice patterns of primary care physicians regarding administration of the herpes zoster (HZ) vaccine at NYU Langone Health (NYULH).Methods:A cross-sectional online survey was distributed from January to March 2017 to all physicians in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Innovation at NYULH across 5 different practice settings.Results:The response rate was 26% (138 of 530). Of the surveyed physicians, 76% (100/132) agreed that the HZ vaccine was an important clinical priority, compared with 93% and 94% for influenza and pneumococcal vaccination, respectively (P < 0.001). Only 35% (47/132) strongly agreed that it was important, compared with 68% (90/132) and 74% (98/132) who strongly agreed that pneumococcal and influenza vaccines, respectively, were important. Respondents estimated that 43% of their immunocompetent patients aged 60 or older received the HZ vaccine, whereas only 11% of patients aged 50 to 59 received the HZ vaccine (P < 0.001). The rate of HZ vaccination was lower in public hospitals (26%) than in the NYULH faculty group practice (46%) (P = 0.007). A greater percent (67% and 72%) of their patients have received influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, respectively (P < 0.001). Almost all doctors (99%, 131/132) consider the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations important in determining vaccination practices.Conclusions:HZ vaccination rates remain relatively low compared with rates of influenza and pneumonia vaccination. The recommendation for vaccination against zoster by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for individuals aged 50 years and older and stronger recommendations by primary care physicians for administration of zoster vaccines are needed to increase HZ vaccination rates.

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