Why should I care about influenza immunization?
Each year in the US, influenza causes approximately 20,000 hospitalizations and nearly 100 deaths in children. Influenza can also worsen chronic health conditions such as asthma and can lead to serious medical complications, including pneumonia and bronchitis. However, with annual influenza vaccination, healthcare professionals can help keep children healthy and increase vaccination awareness among parents and family members.
According to a survey by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), a strong recommendation from a pediatrician or other healthcare professional would make nearly 3 in 4 parents more interested in vaccinating their child against influenza.
As a healthcare professional, it is up to you to start the “influenza” dialogue regarding annual influenza vaccination recommendations. It is your duty to provide parents and caregivers with the information they need to make an informed choice – the choice to have their children vaccinated against the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death in the US. It is also important to set an example to parents by getting vaccinated yourself and making sure that your office staff is vaccinated each year.
Patients look to their healthcare professional as a trusted source of information. The materials provided in this section contain current and accurate influenza-related information.
UPDATE: On June 22, 2016, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended a change to US influenza vaccination policy for 2016-2017. ACIP voted that live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season. ACIP continues to recommend annual flu vaccination, with either the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV), for all individuals age 6 months and older.