Flu Vaccination during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Interim guidance from the CDC on vaccination during a pandemic highlights the importance of the flu vaccine during the 2020-21 flu season. As usual, the CDC recommends all persons age 6 months and older receive the influenza vaccine. Current influenza vaccine recommendations can be found here. While the flu vaccine is always important, it is critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Widespread vaccination can reduce the impact of respiratory illnesses and their resulting burden on the healthcare system.

The CDC urges healthcare providers to use every opportunity during flu season to administer influenza vaccines to eligible persons with a special emphasis on:

  • Essential workers: Healthcare personnel, including nursing home, long-term care facility, and pharmacy staff, and other critical infrastructure workforce
  • Persons at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19: Including adults age 65 years and older, residents in a nursing home or long-term care facility, persons of all ages with certain underlying medical conditions. Severe illness from COVID-19 has been observed to disproportionately affect members of certain racial/ethnic minority groups
  • Persons at high risk for influenza complications: Including infants and young children, children with neurologic conditions, pregnant women, adults age 65 years and older, and other persons with certain underlying medical conditions

Webinar: Planning and Implementing a Drive-thru Flu Clinic Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

CPP Buying Group is excited to announce an upcoming webinar to discuss planning and implementing a drive-thru flu clinic at your practice. Dr. Jeanne Marconi will be joining us to discuss the nuances of drive-thru flu clinic planning. Her busy pediatric practice has provided drive-thru vaccine clinics for over 18 years.

The webinar will take place Thursday, August 6 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm.

We invite anyone in your office that is involved in the planning and vaccine coordination process to attend. To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/webinar-planning-a-drive-thru-flu-clinic-amidst-the-covid-19-pandemic-tickets-114165969488

Webinar link and any materials will be emailed prior to the event.

AAP: No flu preference for 2020-21 season

In March of this year, the AAP released a statement saying that once again pediatricians can use either flu shots or nasal spray flu vaccines for their patients. This guidance applies to the 2020-21 flu season, and is the same recommendation issued for the 2019-20 season. The AAP and CDC did not recommend using the nasal spray in 2016-17 or 2017-18 due to poor effectiveness against H1N1 strains. LAIV manufacturer AstraZeneca has since changed the formulation of the vaccine.

According to a report issued by the CDC in April, 166 children died during the 2019-20 flu season. The CDC estimates about 39 million people have gotten sick with flu, 410,000 have been hospitalized and 24,000 have died this season. Hospitalization rates for children remain unusually high. Children ages 4 and under have been hospitalized at a rate of 94.1 per 100,000 children, the highest the CDC has on record for this age group. Last season’s vaccine was 55% effective for children and teens according to the CDC.

CDC Pink Book Webinars 2020

Beginning July 1, the CDC is offering weekly one-hour videos that provide an overview of vaccination principles, general best practices, immunization strategies, and specific information about vaccine-preventable diseases and the vaccines that prevent them. Each video will also include recent updates from the Advisory on Immunization Practices meetings.

The intended audience is all immunization providers, and continuing education will be available for each video. Due to COVID-19, the videos will be on demand and prerecorded rather than live. No registration is required, and videos will be released on Wednesdays through October 14. Videos can be accessed here.

The 2020 release schedule is below:

July 1Principles of Vaccination
July 8General Best Practice Guidelines, Part 1
July 15General Best Practice Guidelines, Part 2, and Vaccine Safety
July 22Immunization Strategies
July 29Vaccine Storage and Handling and Vaccine Administration
August 5DTaP/Tdap
August 12Rotavirus and Hepatitis A
August 19Meningococcal Vaccine
August 26Mealses, Mumps, Rubella