Ever since word came out in December that about half of influenza A (H3N2) viruses circulating in the community had drifted from the H3N2 virus contained in the 2014-15 influenza vaccine -- leaving people with no protection against the circulating strains -- some patients have questioned whether the flu vaccine is worth getting at all.
A free AAFP webinar titled "Benefits of the Influenza Vaccine for Adults 65 Years and Older,"(attendee.gotowebinar.com) scheduled for March 19 from 11 to 11:30 a.m. CDT, will address this issue, as well as focus on helping family physicians increase their influenza vaccination rates, especially among older patients.
Thomas Koinis, M.D., of Oxford Family Physicians in Oxford, N.C., will lead the webinar, which is funded by an unrestricted grant from Sanofi Pasteur. He told AAFP News that influenza vaccination has become much more complex in the past few years.
"There are lots of different options now available," Koinis said. "I will be clarifying those options and related issues and also hope to increase the comfort level with using high-dose vaccines for those who have not started using them yet."
The webinar will offer an evidence-based approach family physicians can use at the point of care that will include morbidity and mortality data and information about the relative effectiveness of the standard- and high-dose influenza vaccines. There is no preferential recommendation for the high-dose vaccine at this time.
At the conclusion of the webinar, participants should be able to understand
- the impact of influenza morbidity and mortality in patients age 65 and older,
- the importance of influenza vaccines and recommendations, and
- influenza vaccine options for all age groups and the vaccines' relative effectiveness.
"I want family physicians to come away with strategies to improve uptake of flu vaccine in their practices, to help them understand the need for vaccination and to update them with information about high-dose flu vaccine," Koinis said.
After registering for the webinar, participants will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the event. Make sure to view system requirements(support.citrixonline.com) for the event. No CME is offered for this webinar.
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AAFP Supports CDC, HHS Vaccine Efforts but Calls for Change