CDC Report on Vaccine Benefits from 2016-2017 Season
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a report on the benefits of the influenza vaccine for the 2016-2017 influenza season. According to the CDC, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 5.3 million influenza illnesses, 2.6 million influenza-associated medical visits, and 85,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations during the 2016-2017 influenza season. These findings underscore the important benefits provided by influenza vaccination, which has been recommended annually in the United States for all persons 6 months and older since 2010, but also highlights areas where improvements in vaccine uptake and vaccine effectiveness could deliver even greater benefits to the public’s health.
Improvements in vaccine coverage could provide a greater public health benefit. For example, if vaccination rates increased by just 5 percentage points across the entire population, another 483,000 illnesses, 232,000 medical visits, and 6,950 hospitalizations associated with influenza could be prevented. If vaccination rates improved to the Healthy People goal of 70% for all age groups, another 1.89 million illnesses, 822,000 medical visits, and 17,300 hospitalizations could have been prevented during the 2016-2017 influenza season.
Strategies to improve vaccine coverage include:
- Ensuring influenza vaccination status is assessed at each heath care encounter during the influenza season (October through May).
- Ensuring patients receive a recommendation to get vaccinated and an offer of vaccination from their provider, using standing orders in the health care office, using patient reminder/recall systems aided by immunization information systems.
- Expanding vaccination access through use of nontraditional settings for vaccination (e.g., pharmacies, workplaces, and schools) to reach persons who might not visit a physician’s office during the influenza season.
A link to the full CDC report is provided below.
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