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We improve public health and population health practice to support healthier communities
Time for a Flu Vaccine: Get It and Recommend It

Date: 9/11/2014 11:05 AM

Related Categories: Learning Resource Center (LRC), PHF Online Store, Workforce Development

Topic: Community Development, Workforce Development

Tag: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Healthcare, Hot off the Press (HOTP), Email Newsletter Content, Learning Resource Center (LRC), PHF Online Store, Workforce Development

 

Dr Bresee (1).jpgJoseph Bresee, M.D., FAAP, is Chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in the Influenza Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is a captain in the United States Public Health Service. This Branch is responsible for conducting influenza surveillance; working to understand influenza disease burden; helping to derive appropriate seasonal influenza vaccine and antiviral use policies; detecting and preventing avian influenza and pandemic influenza; and providing technical expertise to global public health partners. He has led the Branch since 2005.

 

 

It’s September, and soon after kids are back in school and the feeling of fall is in the air comes the start of influenza (flu) season. Now is the ideal time for public health and healthcare professionals, like you, to get your annual flu vaccination and to recommend the same to your colleagues, family members, and patients. CDC recommends getting vaccinated soon after the vaccine is available, ideally by October. Doing so helps ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu starts circulating in your community. 

 

As a medical or public health professional, it is essential that you have conversations with your patients and those you serve to remind them of the importance of vaccination. As a trusted messenger, research shows that your recommendation for yearly flu vaccination and your action to get yourself vaccinated are vital to an individual’s decision to get vaccinated. Even if you do not have vaccine to offer, you should make the recommendation and refer people to the vaccine finder.

 

CDC recommends that everyone six months and older get an annual flu vaccination to help prevent the spread of flu viruses. Here’s why:

  1. The composition of the flu vaccine may be updated from one season to the next to keep up with constantly changing flu viruses. Even in years when the composition does not change, new flu vaccine is manufactured every season.
  2. Immunity from vaccination declines over time.
  3. You can spread the flu to others before you know you have it. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.
  4. Coughs and sneezes can spread flu to others who are up to six feet away. Even if you don’t have direct contact with someone who has flu, you can still come in contact with the virus.

Anyone can get very sick from the flu, including people who are otherwise healthy. Flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. The following groups of people are at high risk of developing serious complications from flu: seniors 65 and older; pregnant women; people with chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer; and children under the age of 5.

 
specialist-flu-card.jpg 
This 4" x 6" pad is a customizable checklist
for physicians, public health personnel,
healthcare professionals, pharmacists, and
others to recommend the flu vaccine for patients.
Also available in Spanish

 

 CDC offers a variety of resources to help you communicate the importance of vaccination with both high risk and general populations, including:
  • Prescription-style tear pads that remind pregnant women and other high risk individuals to go get their flu vaccine
  • Web buttons that you can embed onto your website to remind various groups to get vaccinated
  • The Healthmap vaccine finder widget that enables you to find a vaccination location by zip code and can be embedded onto your website to provide your patients with easy access to it
  • Streaming videos that help you talk to your patients about a number of flu-related topics
  • Print materials, such as posters, flyers, and brochures, for various audience groups, can be accessed three ways:
healthcare-poster-press.jpg 
This full-color poster communicates the
importance of preventing the flu
to providers and patients
 

So many people depend on you to lead by example and make the recommendation — get yourself vaccinated and recommend it to everyone around you!  If you use Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, we encourage you and/or your colleagues to take a selfie picture before, during, or after your flu vaccination and tag it with #VaxWithMe. By doing this, you will help encourage others to get vaccinated, too, which reduces the chances of you and everyone around you feeling miserable from flu this season and spreading the illness to others. Getting vaccinated and sharing that you did so allows you to continue making great contributions to the health of many! Thank you for your tireless effort in promoting flu vaccination to your patients, colleagues, and loved ones.

 

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Public Health Foundation (PHF) is one of CDC's Flu Vaccination Digital Ambassadors for the 2014-2015 flu season. CDC's Flu Vaccination Digital Ambassador program recognizes partners and online publishers who commit to posting about flu vaccination multiple times throughout the season. The Flu Vaccination Digital Ambassadors are integral to raising awareness about the importance of flu vaccination among the general public as well as individuals at high risk for severe complications from flu
 
Public Health Foundation is proud to partner with CDC to share information about flu with you. To order bulk copies of select CDC flu materials, please visit the Public Health Foundation’s Online Store.

 

Additional Resources:

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