CME: Flu Vaccination Among Healthcare Professionals

CME: Flu Vaccination Among Healthcare Professionals

Studies have shown that influenza among healthcare personnel (HCP) increases absenteeism and the potential to spread the infection to patients as well as family and friends. Additional research indicates that influenza vaccination of HCP reduces morbidity and mortality among nursing home patients, a population shown to be highly vulnerable to influenza. To reduce influenza-related morbidity, mortality, and absenteeism among HCP and their patients, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends annual influenza vaccination for all HCP. The CDC conducted an opt-in internet panel survey of nearly 2,000 HCP to estimate adherence with the ACIP recommendation for the 2014-2015 influenza season. “We conducted an internet panel survey to obtain data on influenza coverage quickly following the end of an influenza season,” explains Carla L. Black, PhD, lead author of the study. “These data can then be used to enhance communication, messaging, and planning for the next influenza season.” Dr. Black notes that HCP are a relatively rare segment of the population, and performing a population-based survey would be time-consuming and expensive. “The Internet panel survey estimates might be inexact measures of influenza vaccination coverage, but we’ve conducted the same survey for several years and are able to look at trends in coverage,” she says. “We were also interested in vaccination-related attitudes, practices, and knowledge among HCP, which are hard to obtain with current larger, population-based surveys.” Key Findings According to survey participant reports received for the 2014-2015 influenza season, overall HCP vaccination coverage was 77%, a rate that was similar to that of the 2013-2014 season but higher than what was seen during the 2010-2011 season (Figure). Coverage was...
Flu Vaccination Among Healthcare Professionals

Flu Vaccination Among Healthcare Professionals

Studies have shown that influenza among healthcare personnel (HCP) increases absenteeism and the potential to spread the infection to patients as well as family and friends. Additional research indicates that influenza vaccination of HCP reduces morbidity and mortality among nursing home patients, a population shown to be highly vulnerable to influenza. To reduce influenza-related morbidity, mortality, and absenteeism among HCP and their patients, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends annual influenza vaccination for all HCP. The CDC conducted an opt-in internet panel survey of nearly 2,000 HCP to estimate adherence with the ACIP recommendation for the 2014-2015 influenza season. “We conducted an internet panel survey to obtain data on influenza coverage quickly following the end of an influenza season,” explains Carla L. Black, PhD, lead author of the study. “These data can then be used to enhance communication, messaging, and planning for the next influenza season.” Dr. Black notes that HCP are a relatively rare segment of the population, and performing a population-based survey would be time-consuming and expensive. “The Internet panel survey estimates might be inexact measures of influenza vaccination coverage, but we’ve conducted the same survey for several years and are able to look at trends in coverage,” she says. “We were also interested in vaccination-related attitudes, practices, and knowledge among HCP, which are hard to obtain with current larger, population-based surveys.” Key Findings According to survey participant reports received for the 2014-2015 influenza season, overall HCP vaccination coverage was 77%, a rate that was similar to that of the 2013-2014 season but higher than what was seen during the 2010-2011 season (Figure). Coverage was...

Leading the Fight Against Flu

In 2009, the H1N1 influenza virus significantly changed the way most healthcare workers in the United States think about the flu. Collectively, we learned once again that the influenza virus is an unpredictable and serious threat to our patients’ health and well-being. Every year, influenza sickens 5% to 20% of all Americans, sending about 200,000 people to the hospital. What’s worse is that thousands die from the flu each year. The best means to prevent influenza illness is vaccination. This flu season, the Department of Health and Human Services is recommending seasonal influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older. Moreover, the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices continue to recommend that immunization programs focus initially on providing protection for people at greater risk for influenza-related complications, including: Pregnant women. Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2. Adults aged 65 and older. People with chronic medical conditions (eg, asthma, diabetes, or heart disease) associated with greater risk for medical complications from influenza. People working in healthcare settings are also among those at high-risk of getting and spreading influenza. Lead By Example Healthcare workers can serve as role models for vaccination because they can provide vaccines and set an example by getting vaccinated themselves. Research continues to show that the flu can spread rapidly throughout healthcare settings if proper precautions aren’t taken. Vaccination of healthcare workers reduces influenza infection and absenteeism, prevents mortality in other patients, and results in financial savings to sponsoring health institutions. However, influenza vaccination coverage among healthcare workers in the U.S. remains low. Recent mid-season estimates suggest that approximately...

IDWeek 2012: Study Shows Flu Deadly in Otherwise Healthy Kids

New data being presented at IDWeek 2012 shows the fatal risk that influenza poses even for children without underlying health conditions and the effectiveness of school-based vaccination programs in protecting student populations. Together, these findings support the crucial public health message that families should take the flu virus seriously every year. One study viewed influenza from an epidemiological perspective, analyzing U.S. pediatric influenza-associated deaths over an eight-year period and finding that 43 percent of the deaths occurred in children with no health conditions, such as asthma or diabetes, that would have predisposed them to being at high risk of serious flu complications. Moreover, the study found that those young, previously healthy patients succumbed faster. The median duration of illness from onset of initial symptoms to death was four days in children with no underlying high-risk health conditions compared with seven days in children with at least one such condition. “During the 2004-2012 influenza seasons, almost half the children who died had been previously healthy,” said Karen K. Wong, MD, an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the study’s lead researcher. “The numbers demonstrate how important it is for all children, even children who are otherwise healthy, to get a flu vaccine every year, and underscore why all children with severe illness should get treated early with influenza antiviral medications.” The other study looked at influenza from a proactive perspective, assessing the impact of immunization programs in elementary schools in the Los Angeles area and finding lower rates of flu and higher rates of attendance. At one school where nearly half of...

Text Messaging Improves Flu Vaccination Rates

Parents living in low-income, urban areas who received text messages to have their children get vaccinated for the flu appear more likely to follow through on these vaccinations than those receiving usual care. Parents in the intervention group received up to five weekly immunization registry-linked text messages with information and instructions about Saturday vaccination clinics. At the end of the flu season, 43.6% of children in the intervention group had received the flu vaccine, compared with 39.9% for the usual care group. Abstract: JAMA, April 25,...
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