HHS prods providers to pro­mote flu vac­ci­na­tions

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS - —Steven Ross John­son

Gov­ern­ment health of­fi­cials say the na­tion’s in­fluenza vac­ci­na­tion rate has largely plateaued over the past few sea­sons and too few health­care work­ers re­ceive the vac­cine, in­creas­ing the risk of an out­break.

The over­all vac­ci­na­tion rate was 46.8% dur­ing the 2016-17 flu sea­son, a 1.2 per­cent­age point in­crease over the 2015-16 sea­son rate. Since the 2013-14 flu sea­son, the vac­ci­na­tion rate has hov­ered at 59% among chil­dren un­der age 17 and around 43% among adults, the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion re­ported last week.

Dur­ing an event Thurs­day kick­ing off the an­nual push for the flu shot, HHS Sec­re­tary Dr. Tom Price urged health­care providers to do more to pro­mote get­ting a vac­ci­na­tion among their pa­tients, even dur­ing sea­sons when the vac­cine may be less ef­fec­tive com­pared to pre­vi­ous years. Last sea­son’s flu vac­cine had an ef­fi­cacy rate of about 42%, but was es­ti­mated to have pre­vented more than 5.4 mil­lion flu cases, 2.7 mil­lion doc­tor vis­its and 86,000 hos­pi­tal­iza­tions, Price said.

In­fluenza vac­ci­na­tion cover­age among health­care pro­fes­sion­als has in­creased 15 per­cent­age points since the 2010-11 flu sea­son, to 78.6% in 201617. But there has been no sig­nif­i­cant in­crease over the past sev­eral years, with the cover­age rate rang­ing from 75% to 79% since the 2013-14 flu sea­son.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the flu and vac­ci­na­tions, see Data Points, p. 31.

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