In this podcast targeted to clinicians, Dr. Joe Bresee discusses who should be vaccinated against seasonal flu during the 2010-2011 season. He explains who is at risk for severe illness from the flu and discusses the benefits of vaccination. Created: 9/22/2010 by National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD).
Date Released: 9/23/2010. Series Name: CDC Featured Podcasts.
[Announcer]This podcast is presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC – safer, healthier people.
Hello. I'm Dr. Joe Bresee. Welcome to this CDC podcast for clinicians on the 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccine recommendations. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, advises CDC on vaccine issues, including influenza vaccine policy. Each summer, before the start of influenza season, ACIP publishes guidelines for the control and prevention of influenza for the upcoming season.
Vaccination reduces the risk for influenza and influenza-related complications. This year's flu vaccination efforts take place against the backdrop of the emergence of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, which occurred in April 2009 and caused the first influenza pandemic in 40 years.
It's likely that the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus will continue to circulate and cause illness during the 2010-2011 flu season. As with all seasonal flu vaccines, this year's vaccine is designed to protect against the three main viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness. The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against 2009 H1N1, an A- H3N2 virus, and a B virus. Because this year's seasonal vaccine will protect against the 2009 H1N1 virus, two different flu vaccines will not be necessary.
This year, ACIP recommends that everyone aged six months and older receive an influenza vaccine, since the flu can cause illness, including severe illness, in anyone. The recommendations now include young adults aged 19-49 years who were hard hit by the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus.
It's especially important that people who are at higher risk for developing serious flu-related complications get vaccinated, as well as those who live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications. People at higher risk include children younger than five years of age, especially children younger than two; everyone 65 and older; pregnant and postpartum women; and people with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or a weakened immune system.
Influenza causes more hospitalizations among young children than any other vaccine-preventable disease, so it's really important for children to get the influenza vaccine. Most children six months through eight years of age are recommended to receive two doses of the 2010-2011 flu vaccine four or more weeks apart to be fully protected. A child only needs one dose of this year's vaccine if they received at least one dose of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine last flu season, and either at least one dose of seasonal vaccine prior to the 2009-2010 flu season or received two doses of 2009-2010 seasonal flu vaccine last season. Since children younger than six months old cannot receive the influenza vaccine, members of their household, healthcare workers, and other close contacts, such as child care providers, should be vaccinated in order to protect them.
Healthcare workers should routinely offer seasonal influenza vaccine to everyone age six months and older as soon as it's available, and throughout the flu season, which can last as late as May. Vaccine manufacturers project ample supplies of flu vaccine in the United States for the 2010-2011 flu season.
CDC recommends a three-step approach to protect against the flu: vaccination; everyday preventive actions, including frequent hand washing and staying at home when sick; and the appropriate use of antiviral drugs.
Encourage persons at high risk for influenza-related complications to contact their healthcare provider if they develop flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, cough, or sore throat. These patients may need to be treated with influenza antiviral medicines. Clinical judgment is the most important part of deciding when to give antiviral treatment. Treatment works best when initiated within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.