CDC has published (non-COVID-19) flu vaccine recommendations for the 2020-2021 season. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illness, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever. Find the 2020-2021 recommendations at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/acip/summary/summary-recommendations.htm. Also available in Spanish and eight other languages.*
Medicare Part B covers one flu shot per flu season and additional flu shots if medically necessary. Flu shots are free for Medicare patients. Pneumonia and flu shots can be given during the same office visit; find recommended schedules at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html.
CDC, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee recommend that all U.S. health care workers get annual flu shots.
* To find the non-English versions, go to the links above, then click on “Español” or “Other Languages” – these links are either in the upper right corner of the page, or between the title and the text of the document.
We’ve published our Patient Newsletters for Winter 2020. They feature articles on treatment options, flu shots, grievances, access to care, how to stay informed by the Network, and how to help the Network improve patient care. Find them at:
CDC has issued a HAN Health Advisory on Elevated Influenza Activity: Influenza B/Victoria and A(H1N1)pdm09 Viruses are the Predominant Viruses, summarized by:
“This health advisory notifies clinicians that influenza activity remains high in the United States. Ongoing elevated activity is due to influenza B/Victoria viruses, increasing circulation of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses, and low levels of influenza B/Yamagata and influenza A(H3N2) viruses. CDC’s influenza forecasts suggest that national influenza activity will remain elevated for several more weeks. Because influenza activity is elevated and both influenza A and B virus infections can cause severe disease and death, this health advisory also serves as a reminder that early treatment with antiviral medications improves outcomes in patients with influenza. Early treatment with antiviral medications is recommended for hospitalized patients and high-risk outpatients… Clinicians should continue efforts to vaccinate patients for as long as influenza viruses are circulating, and promptly start antiviral treatment of severely ill and high-risk patients with suspected influenza without waiting for laboratory confirmation.”
CDC has issued a Health Alert Network Advisory on Hepatitis A Virus infections, especially among drug users and homeless persons. The HAN includes recommendations for testing, vaccination, reporting, and other healthcare facility procedures. For details see https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00412.asp.
CDC has issued a “HAN” Health Advisory on increased influenza A(H3N2) activity and its clinical implications. The HAN also includes a summary of influenza antiviral drug treatment recommendations, an update about approved treatment drugs and current supply, and background information for patients about influenza treatment. Find the HAN at https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00409.asp.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month, established to encourage people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on the vaccines recommended for them. Communities use August each year to raise awareness about the important role vaccines play in preventing serious, sometimes deadly, diseases. For details see https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niam.html .