The CDC wants to increase influenza vaccination among health-care personnel, after a survey of 1,931 such individuals indicated that only 63.5% got shots for the 2010-2011 season.
“Influenza vaccination coverage among [health-care personnel] is important for patient safety, and health-care administrators should make vaccination readily accessible to all [health-care personnel] as an important part of any comprehensive infection-control program,” stated agency representatives in a press release.
Survey respondents who reported being subject to an employer requirement for flu vaccination reported near-universal coverage. Providers were also more likely to be vaccinated when the service was offered onsite and free of charge on multiple days.
Clinicians also should help increase flu vaccination among pregnant women, according to the CDC. A survey showed that only 49% of pregnant women were vaccinated during the 2010-2011 season, but that those who were offered flu vaccination by a provider were five times more likely to be vaccinated than were others. However, four of 10 women surveyed did not receive such an offer.
Influenza vaccine strains for the 2011-2012 season remain unchanged from those of 2010-2011, but the CDC is recommending annual vaccination even for those who were vaccinated in the previous season, according to the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
As was the case in 2010, all persons aged 6 months and older should undergo annual immunization against the flu (MMWR. 2011;60:1128-1132). However, since the vaccine strains are unchanged this season, children aged 6 months through 8 years who received at least one dose of the 2010-2011 seasonal vaccine will require only one dose of the 2011-2012 vaccine.
The ACIP also now recommends that people with egg allergy receive the flu shot, especially if they only have had mild egg-allergic reactions such as hives. (This recommendation does not apply to the nasal spray influenza vaccine.) These individuals should receive live attenuated influenza vaccine, administered by a provider familiar with the potential manifestations of egg allergy. The recipient should be observed for at least 30 minutes following the administration of each vaccine dose.