Leading national experts warned of a potentially severe influenza (flu) season ahead at the 2022 National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) Influenza/Pneumococcal Disease News Conference, emphasizing the critical importance of annual flu vaccination for everyone age 6 months and older. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, and other panelists focused on the importance of vaccination against flu and pneumococcal disease, particularly among older adults and those with chronic health conditions who are at higher risk for related complications.
Walensky provided vaccine coverage data from the 2021-2022 US flu season, and NFID President Patricia (Patsy) A. Stinchfield, RN, MS, CPNP, shared results from a new NFID national survey of US adults on vaccination attitudes and behaviors, including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Discussions underscored the need to get an annual flu vaccine and to stay up to date on all recommended vaccinations, including those for pneumococcal disease and COVID-19.
The NFID national survey found that only 49% of US adults plan to get a flu vaccine during the 2022-2023 flu season. Among adults age 65 years and older, and those with an underlying chronic health condition who are at higher risk for pneumococcal disease, less than a third (29%) report that they have been advised to get vaccinated against pneumococcal disease. In addition, only 32% of US adults are extremely/very confident about the safety of receiving flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time—underlining the importance of healthcare professionals talking to their patients about the safety of vaccine coadministration.
In addition to Walensky and Stinchfield, expert panelists included: Tamika C. Auguste, MD, ACOG fellow and chair of Women’s and Infants’ Services at MedStar Washington Hospital Center; NFID Medical Director William Schaffner, MD; and Jeb S. Teichman, MD, retired pediatrician and healthcare executive who lost his 29-year-old unvaccinated son Brent to flu in 2019. Alicia M. Fry, MD, MPH, chief of the CDC Epidemiology and Prevention Branch, Influenza Division, was on hand to provide additional expertise.
Flu is not just a bad cold. In fact, the words ‘just’ and ‘flu’ should not be in the same sentence.
NFID President Patricia (Patsy) A. Stinchfield, RN, MS, CPNP
Highlights of the extensive national media coverage include the following:
Only 49% of US Adults Plan to Get Flu Vaccine Amid Threat of Severe Season, Survey Finds: While 69% of US adults agree flu vaccination is the best preventive measure against flu-related deaths, only 49% are planning on getting vaccinated this season, a new NFID survey found. Source: Becker’s Hospital Review
Worried about Possibility of a Tough Flu Season, Officials Urge Vaccinations: “Flu has the potential to hit us hard this year,” said Dr. William Schaffner, NFID medical director. “On a positive note, we have more preventive behaviors in our toolbox than we did before the COVID-19 pandemic. We are more accustomed to wearing masks and staying home when sick.” Source: Boston Globe
Health Officials Warn Severe Flu Season is Coming, Urge Vaccinations: Less than half of US adults plan to get a flu vaccine this year and just a third feel safe getting a flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time, according to an NFID survey. Source: CBS Evening News
Health Officials Urge Flu Vaccination, But Few Adults Plan to Get Vaccinated: “Flu season is also a great time to make sure you are up to date on pneumococcal vaccination because pneumococcal disease can be a serious complication of flu,” said NFID President Patricia A. Stinchfield, RN, MS, CPNP. Source: Contagion Live
CDC Warns of Possible Severe Flu Season Ahead: Australia is experiencing its worst flu season in five years, and that doesn’t bode well for the United States, federal health officials warned. “‘We don’t know exactly what to expect this flu season, but we do know the best way to prevent flu is to get vaccinated each year, ideally before flu activity begins in your community,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a media briefing on the upcoming flu season … “Even if the flu vaccine is not a perfect match, it provides some protection against severe disease and complications of influenza,” said NFID Medical Director Dr. William Schaffner. “The flu vaccine is safe during pregnancy and can also help protect the baby,” said Dr. Tamika Auguste. Source: HealthDay
CDC Wants You to Get a Flu Vaccine Before What Could Be a Bad Flu Season: NFID and CDC are urging people to get flu vaccines. Both groups say the flu is likely to come back after a two-year hiatus, and it could be a bad year. Source: NPR
Experts Express Concern About Lower Rates of Flu, Pneumococcal Vaccination: Despite anticipating a stronger flu season in 2022 and 2023, new survey results from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) show that just 49% of adults in the United States plan to get their flu vaccine this season. Throughout the briefing, all of the panelists emphasized the importance of vaccination efforts and said that clinicians should strongly urge all eligible patients to receive their flu vaccines. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, also announced new preferential recommendations for individuals aged 65 years and older, who should ideally receive 1 of 3 available higher dose, adjuvanted flu vaccines, which data have shown could be more effective in this population. However, she added that if these are unavailable, older adults should still receive any age-appropriate flu vaccine. Source: Pharmacy Times
Death of Son Reinforces Flu Vaccination Message: Brent had no health conditions to put him at higher risk for complications of the flu. Brent planned to get a flu vaccine but had not done it yet. “In his obituary, we requested that in lieu of flowers or donations, people go get their flu vaccine,” his father said. “I’m here today to put a face on influenza,” Jeb Teichman, MD, said at a news briefing on preventing flu and pneumococcal disease, sponsored by NFID. Source: WebMD
Spread the Word To Help NFID #FightFlu and #PreventPnuemo
Show your support for annual flu vaccination and pneumococcal disease prevention:
- Join the NFID Leading By Example initiative to make a public commitment to flu prevention
- Share flu vaccination photo(s), with an NFID #FightFlu paddle, on social media—be sure to include #FightFlu and tag @NFIDvaccines
- View the NFID news conference video and related resources at www.nfid.org/2022flunews
- Follow, retweet, share, and like NFID social media content to promote vaccination using #FightFlu and #PreventPneumo
To join the conversation and get the latest news on infectious diseases, follow NFID on Twitter using the hashtags #FightFlu and #PreventPneumo, like NFID on Facebook, follow NFID on Instagram, visit NFID on LinkedIn, and subscribe to receive future NFID Updates.
With flu activity on the rise and vaccination rates lagging across the US, NFID is reminding everyone age 6 months and older to get vaccinated against flu
Leading national experts at the 2023 National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) Annual News Conference: Preventing Disease this Fall and Winter emphasized the importance of vaccination to help prevent disease and protect public health …