With the 2019-2020 flu season approaching, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated to our member population. Because we know patients and their families listen to their providers, Harvard Pilgrim requests that you please promote the flu vaccine to your patients so that they understand how it can help them avoid illness and potential hospitalization.
The CDC recommends yearly vaccination for people 6 months of age and older and estimates that for the 2017-2018 season the flu vaccine reduced the chances of getting sick and going to the doctor by 38% and prevented 7.1 million illnesses, 3.7 million medical visits, 109,000 hospitalizations, and 8,000 deaths associated with the flu. Additionally, a study published in Pediatrics in 2017 found the flu vaccine to be effective in preventing influenza-related deaths among children and adolescents.
While some people who get vaccinated may still develop influenza, vaccination may make their illness milder, as a study published in 2017 in Clinical Infectious Diseases (CID) found, reporting that influenza vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized influenza patients.
All 2018-2019 flu vaccine has expired as of June 30, and a new vaccine is currently being produced for the 2019-2020 season. Information on the 2019-2020 Influenza season and the vaccine is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
For additional information, please refer to the Information for Health Professionals section of the CDC’s website.