Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza With Vaccines
The AAFP recommends that physicians offer influenza vaccination as soon as it becomes available each year and continue to provide the vaccine throughout the flu season (i.e., as long as influenza viruses are circulating in the community).
The AAFP has adopted the 2015-2016 recommendations(www.cdc.gov) for the prevention and control of influenza with vaccines, which are consistent with that of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)(www.cdc.gov).
Routine annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months and older who do not have contraindications.
The AAFP recommends that healthy children aged 2 through 8 years who have no contraindications or precautions receive live attenuated vaccine (LAIV) or inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV). There is no preference expressed for LAIV or IIV, for any person ages 2 through 49 years for whom either vaccine is appropriate.
For more information, view the 2015-2016 ACIP Influenza Vaccine Dosing Algorithm for Children Aged 6 Months Through 8 Years(www.cdc.gov).
From the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
Download the 2015-2016 CDC recommendations for prevention and control of influenza with vaccines.
Webinar: Benefits of the Influenza Vaccine for Adults 65 and Older
Boost influenza immunization uptake in your practice and find out more about standard- versus high-dose vaccine in your older patients by tuning in to this free AAFP webinar, moderated by family physician Thomas Koinis, M.D.
The influenza vaccine is the first step to prevent the flu, and your recommendation can make a difference. Consider the following points in discussions with patients:
- Pregnant women should receive the seasonal influenza vaccine. The risk of severe illnesses related to the flu is higher in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant.
- The influenza vaccine protects the mother and her infant from influenza-related illnesses, hospitalization, and premature labor and delivery.
- The influenza vaccine is safe for pregnant women in any trimester. The vaccine has been given to millions of pregnant women in the last decade and has not been shown to cause harm to women or their infants.
- It is safe for postpartum women to get the influenza vaccine (flu shot or nasal spray), even if they are breastfeeding.
- Antivirus drugs are recommended for pregnant women who get the flu. Antivirus drugs can shorten the length of illness by 1 or 2 days, and can prevent flu complications, such as pneumonia.
Influenza Prevention in Pregnant Women
Read a letter issued by the Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with the AAFP and other organizations urging health care providers to recommend that pregnant and postpartum women receive the influenza vaccine.
The AAFP supports annual mandatory influenza immunization for health care personnel (HCP) except for religious or medical reasons (not personal preferences). If HCP are not vaccinated, policies to adjust practice activities during flu season are appropriate (e.g. wear masks, refrain from direct patient care). (Board Chair approved June, 2011)
Trivalent recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV3) is considered egg-free and may be given to persons aged 18 years and older who have no other contraindications.
Persons who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg should receive the influenza vaccine, either with RIV3 or inactivated vaccines. If the inactivated vaccine is used, the vaccine should be administered by health care providers familiar with the potential signs and symptoms of egg allergy, and the patient should be observed for ≥ 30 minutes after vaccine administration. Persons who have had angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness, recurrent emesis, or have required emergency medical intervention after exposure to egg may receive RIV3 if they are 18 years and older without contraindications. If RIV3 is not available, or the patient is not eligible for RIV3, inactivated influenza vaccine should be administered by a physician with experience in the recognition and management of severe allergic reactions. For more information, view the 2015-2016 ACIP Recommendations Regarding Influenza Vaccination of Persons Who Report Allergy to Eggs(www.cdc.gov).
This protocol assists physicians and health care professionals in the management of the expected surge of patients during an influenza pandemic. Download the protocol algorithm(2 page PDF).