William Schaffner, MD

William Schaffner, MD, is medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID). He is also a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Dr. Schaffner currently serves as NFID liaison to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is a past-president of NFID and is a member of numerous other professional societies, including the Infectious Diseases Society of America, American College of Physicians, Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America, and American Public Health Association.

Dr. Schaffner is active in the field of infectious disease research and has authored or co-authored more than 400 published studies, reviews, and book chapters on infectious diseases. He currently serves on the editorial board of a number of scientific journals, including the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vaccine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. He is a featured guest author for  Infectious Disease News.

William Schaffner, MD, NFID Medical Director

NFID Medical Director William Schaffner, MD

His work has focused on all aspects of infectious diseases including epidemiology, infection control, and immunization. He was the recipient of the inaugural 2017 National Vaccine Program Office UpShot Award for excellence in vaccine communication. In 2013, he received the John P. Utz Leadership Award from NFID for his longstanding service to the organization and the field of infectious diseases. In 2009, he received the James D. Bruce Award from the American College of Physicians for distinguished contributions to preventive medicine. Dr. Schaffner has worked extensively on the effective use of vaccines in adult populations.

Areas of Expertise: 

  • Adult immunizations
  • COVID-19
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza (flu) prevention and treatment
  • Impact of flu in adults with chronic health conditions
  • Immunization amid the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Outbreak response
  • Pneumococcal disease prevention
  • Vaccine confidence and vaccine hesitancy

Quotes:

NFID Medical Director William Schaffner, MD

“A flu vaccine only protects against influenza (flu), not the coronavirus. And while its effectiveness varies from year to year, people vaccinated against flu don’t get as sick, avoiding pneumonia, hospitalization and death.” Source: Associated Press

“Flu can cause immediate complications, including pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis. Studies over the past decade show that even after the worst of the coughing, fever, and aches have passed, people are at increased risk for heart attacks and strokes in the two to four weeks after recovering from flu. The virus is even more nasty than you thought. Flu initiates a whole-body inflammatory reaction. The damage from flu continues even after one recovers from the acute flu illness … It’s why many people feel wiped out for two weeks or more after they’ve stopped coughing. This lingering inflammation can involve blood vessels, particularly the blood vessels to the heart and the brain.” Source: Everyday Health

“Vaccines are not just for children anymore. Over the years, a number of vaccines have been developed and now recommended for the adult population and particularly the middle age and older population, aged 50 and older.” Source: Infectious Diseases Consultant

Dr. Schaffner on COVID-19, flu prevention, and the importance of maintaining routine immunization rates (Video Gallery):

To arrange an interview, contact: Diana Olson, dolson@nfid.org, 301-656-0003 x140

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Updated May 2021