National Influenza Vaccination Week: What Does Medicare Cover?

PUBLISHED: Dec 8, 2016
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

December 4th through December 10th is National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), a national observance that highlights the importance of continuing influenza vaccination through the holiday season and beyond.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older receive an influenza vaccine every year. National Influenza Week is a good time to communicate the importance of vaccination for people at high risk of developing serious influenza-related complications, including people with chronic health conditions and people aged 65 years and older. Key messages to pass along to patients this week include:

  • The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
  • People of every age, including people in good health, are at risk of flu.
  • Flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands or tens of thousands of deaths each year in the United States.
  • Although a majority of hospitalizations and deaths occur in people 65 years and older, even healthy young children and younger adults can have severe disease or even die from influenza.
  • About 100 deaths from influenza among children are reported each year to CDC.
  • An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against this potentially serious disease.
  • Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, pneumonia, need for antibiotics, missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
  • Flu vaccination also may make your illness milder if you do get sick.

Now is a great time to vaccinate – to protect your patients, your staff, and yourself!

Vaccine providers are also reminded that Medicare Part B covers one influenza vaccination and its administration each influenza season for Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare may cover additional seasonal influenza vaccinations if medically necessary.

For the 2016-2017 season, the CDC recommends use of the Inactivated Influenza Vaccine (IIV) or the Recombinant Influenza Vaccine (RIV). The nasal spray influenza vaccine (Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV)) should not be used during 2016-2017.

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