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Five New Health Systems Partner with American Thoracic Society on Vaccine Initiative

The health systems will prioritize improving vaccine rates among high-risk adults with lung disease across different populations.

NEW YORK, NY – Sept. 19, 2023 – As cities brace for a confluence of flu, COVID-19, pneumonia, and RSV infections this fall, the American Thoracic Society announced that five new health systems have partnered with the Society to improve vaccination rates. Grady Health System (Atlanta, GA), Meharry Medical College (Nashville, TN), St. Luke’s Health System (Boise, ID), the University of Colorado (Aurora, CO), and Wayne Health (Detroit, MI) join the University of Arizona/ Banner Health, West Virginia University Hospitals, Inc., and San Francisco Health Network/ University of California to help identify barriers to vaccination and find ways to improve vaccination rates in various demographic groups.

In the fall of 2021, the CDC announced it had awarded a grant to the Center of Medical Specialty Societies to implement a vaccine initiative – Specialty Societies Advancing Adult Immunization – over a five-year period. The ATS, among others, was tapped by CMSS to address COVID-19, influenza, and pneumococcal vaccine implementation gaps. Specifically, ATS will focus on adults with respiratory diseases, including COPD and asthma.

With funding from the ATS, each health system will focus on collecting baseline immunization data and testing strategies to improve immunization rates within health systems. At the end of the grant, health systems will have tested and identified which strategies work among specific populations and across many health systems.

“As we look to the fall and the beginning of flu season, we are reminded of just how critical the vaccine initiative is,” said ATS President M. Patricia Rivera, MD, ATSF. “We are grateful to our health system partners for collaborating with us to help improve patients' health across the country.”

She added, “On behalf of the ATS leadership, I want to extend my thanks to the CDC and CMSS for their continued support and for including ATS in this critically important initiative.” As a demonstration of its ongoing commitment to immunization access, the ATS’s Executive Committee has endorsed the National Vaccine Advisory Committee Standards for Adult Immunization.

For information on vaccine resources, including the latest guidance on the COVID-19 booster and RSV vaccine, visit the ATS Vaccine Resource Center.