WASHINGTON – Flu vaccination rates remain below the 70% Healthy People 2020 goal for most of the U.S. population, but data show that a recommendation from a clinician can encourage individuals to get vaccinated and to vaccinate their children, according to a panel of experts who spoke at a press briefing sponsored by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
“Annual vaccination is our first line of defense against the flu,” William Schaffner, MD, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., said at the briefing. The unpredictable nature of the flu makes annual vaccination even more important – and the earlier, the better, said Dr. Schaffner. “If you have seen one flu season, you have seen ... one flu season.”
In a at the briefing, experts emphasized the safety and effectiveness of the flu vaccine for a range of populations, including children, pregnant women, and older adults. And they offered tips to convince patients of the importance of vaccination, as well as the need to make sure health care staff are protected.
Briefing participants included former Department of Health and Human Services Secretary ; of Children’s Minnesota, St. Paul; , of the University of Maryland; and , of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The clinicians interviewed had no financial conflicts to disclose.