• William Schaffner, MD
  • William Schaffner, MD, is professor of preventive medicine and medicine (infectious diseases) at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. Additionally, he serves as a hospital epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University Hospital and is immediate past-president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Eliminate missed vaccination opportunities

William Schaffner, MD

Despite well-documented evidence regarding effectiveness and safety, overall adult vaccination rates in the United States fall short of national public health goals. Efforts to increase vaccine uptake have largely focused on reducing the number of so-called missed opportunities (eg, patients who visit health care providers without being vaccinated). All health care professionals, whether in public or private practice, should take advantage of every patient visit to ask about immunization history and provide patients with the recommended vaccines they need or refer them to providers who can offer the vaccines. While this may occur in some practices, I see missed opportunities all the time, particularly in specialty practices.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Updates to adult immunization schedule

William Schaffner, MD

Each year in January, the CDC publishes an adult immunization schedule, updating information relating to the vaccines that are relevant to the adult population in the United States. That’s right — vaccines are not just for kids!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Better protection from invasive pneumococcal disease

William Schaffner, MD

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has provided us an opportunity to do a better job in providing protection from invasive pneumococcal disease for our immunocompromised adult patients.  It long has been recommended that such patients receive the 23-serotype pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.

Friday, November 18, 2011

One giant leap for diabetes, one small step for society

William Schaffner, MD

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice’s recent vote in favor of hepatitis B vaccination for all patients with diabetes aged younger than 60 years is a giant step forward for millions of Americans.

Friday, November 11, 2011

World Pneumonia Day: A reminder to all of us to take action

William Schaffner, MD

Saturday, Nov. 12 is the Third Annual World Pneumonia Day. Again this year I urge you to consider the enormous impact of pneumonia on children across the world and to take a few minutes out of your day to help.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Recap of NFID’s influenza/pneumococcal news conference

William Schaffner, MD

I had the pleasure of hosting NFIDs’ Influenza/Pneumococcal news conference this year. Every year, NFID brings together leaders from public health and the private sector to help prepare the nation for the upcoming flu season. As usual, I was impressed by the commitment of so many of our medical and public health colleagues. Here are some highlights:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Leading by sharing the load

William Schaffner, MD

I’ve long been a strong supporter of vaccinations in pharmacies, the workplace, senior centers and any other reasonable place that makes it easier for adults to follow the US immunization schedule.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When is a disparity not a disparity?

William Schaffner, MD

As I was writing my last blog about the ongoing pertussis outbreak in California, I couldn’t help wondering why the Hispanic community is being so hard hit there. The peak incidence is 547/100,000 among Hispanic infants younger than 6 months; nine of the 10 infants who died from pertussis in California last year were Hispanic; and 80% of hospitalized infants were Hispanic.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pertussis is back with a vengeance

William Schaffner, MD

Oh, for the good old days! I’m not thinking about the 1950s and greasers or the 1960s and bell bottom pants. I’m thinking about the 1980s — and no, it’s not the fashion that I’m nostalgic for. I’m thinking about a time when it looked like pertussis was headed for the history books. But, by 2004 we saw a huge peak in the US pertussis incidence, and that peak apparently was a warning of dire events to come.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A painful story: Shingles doesn’t have to be like this

William Schaffner, MD

Jeffrey I. Cohen, MD, chief of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health, tells about his father’s bout with shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. For months after the rash resolved, his father was in excruciating, nearly constant pain, unable to sleep and so depressed, he later admitted, that he considered suicide. He saw several physicians, but nothing they prescribed helped. Unable to deal with the pain and continue the active life he had been leading before shingles struck, he retired from a job he loved and never worked again.