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...
Examining Low HPV Vaccination Rates

Examining Low HPV Vaccination Rates

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination among adolescents aged 11 or 12 has been shown to be effective and is recommended as a routine primary prevention strategy to reduce many HPV-related cancers. However, data indicate that HPV vaccination coverage is low for adolescents. Examining Coverage To better understand HPV vaccination coverage rates in the United States, the CDC partnered with the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) to evaluate the rate of vaccination among more than 626,000 girls at age 13 who were enrolled in commercial health insurance plans or Medicaid in. “NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) houses data on performance measures for important healthcare issues that are reported by health insurance plans,” explains Shannon Stokley, MPH. “The HEDIS HPV Vaccine for Female Adolescents performance measure evaluates how many members of a given health plan have received the complete, three-dose HPV vaccination series by the age of 13.” Stokley and colleagues found that although health plan performance on HPV coverage varied by plan type, overall performance was low. Commercial plans provided all three doses of the HPV vaccine to a median of 12% of adolescent girls by age 13, with rates ranging from 0% to 34%. The authors observed little difference in performance by plan size, and the highest-performing plans were health maintenance organizations. Although Medicaid plans reported a significantly higher rate of coverage, these plans provide all three doses of the vaccine to only 19% of girls by age 13, with coverage ranging from 5% to 52% among the various plans. Next Steps “Other reports have shown that vaccination coverage rates for the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis...
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...
My War with the Anti-Vaxxers

My War with the Anti-Vaxxers

In the 19th and first half of the 20th century, infectious diseases killed many. In fact, in the 1918 influenza pandemic, 2 million people around the world succumbed to this virus. The discovery of Penicillin yielded a great weapon in our fight against the early demise of peoples from these infections. However, they failed to address the problem of deadly viruses. The next great weapon in our infectious disease arsenal appeared with the discovery and development of vaccines. By 1977, smallpox was eradicated around the world. In a like vein, polio was wiped out of the Western Hemisphere by the year 2000. Measles and Pertussis were considered nearly eradicated in the Western Hemisphere as well up until the last few years.  Science and history clearly give rise to evidence that the eradication of these diseases was the direct result of these vaccination campaigns. Why are we seeing a resurgence of nearly eradicated infections? A big reason is that parents are taking advantage of vaccine exemptions and choosing not to vaccinate their children. Not only do they put their own children at risk, but others, especially immune-compromised children. In fact, many doctors no longer accept unvaccinated children as patients for this very reason. We do not want our more susceptible patients to fall victim to these diseases while sitting in our waiting rooms. According to a survey of doctors on SERMO, the largest social network exclusive to physicians, 79% of doctors feel that unvaccinated kids should not be allowed to attend public schools. “…79% of doctors feel that unvaccinated kids should not be allowed to attend public schools.”   Many...
Making the Case for Meningococcal Disease Prevention

Making the Case for Meningococcal Disease Prevention

While relatively rare, meningococcal disease is a serious cause of morbidity and mortality, even when it is managed with state-of-the-art therapy. Meningococcal disease is often hard to diagnose in its early stages because it typically presents with only fever and malaise. However, the disease can progress very rapidly, with death occurring within 24 hours of symptom onset in some cases. In an outbreak of disease, emergency room physicians or family practice specialists often find themselves on the front lines of caring for meningococcal disease. Unfortunately, they may not have any prior hands-on experience in identifying or treating it. The Development of Vaccines Because of the pattern of insidious onset and a high risk of severe sequelae and mortality, prevention of meningococcal disease is viewed as the best option. Vaccines have been developed to address this critical public health need and protect those at risk. Vaccines that offer protection against four of the five serogroups of meningococcal disease—A, C, W, and Y—are currently available in the United States and are recommended for routine use in adolescents as well as other vulnerable populations. While these established vaccination programs have reduced the incidence of meningococcal disease in the U.S., serogroup B still causes approximately one-third of all cases overall. Currently, there is no licensed vaccine for serogroup B meningococcal disease, and vaccine development for this serogroup has been challenging. Examining Recent Efforts Meningococcal disease tends to occur in outbreaks. For example, in 2013, outbreaks of serogroup B disease occurred at both Princeton University and the University of California, Santa Barbara. To help thwart the spread of disease, the FDA allowed a broad...
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