The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is continuing to urge United States adults and children (aged 6 months and older) to get vaccinated, following the 2019 NFID Influenza/Pneumococcal News Conference on Thursday. The NFID also released data that revealed only 52% of adults in the country plan to get vaccinated against the flu this season.1

Vaccine hesitation is a public health concern across the nation, and William Schaffner, MD and Medical Director of the NFID is adamant about changing consumer perceptions. In his opening statement for the conference, Schaffner reminded the audience that “unless we all start to prioritize prevention, vaccine preventable diseases will persist in the United States”.1

CDC estimates show the overall flu vaccination coverage increased over the past decade, with a 51% in children age 6 months to 17 years getting vaccinated between 2010-2011. However, data indicate that about 45% of United States adults remain unprotected each year.1

The benefits of receiving the flu vaccination outweigh the negative, according to reports from the CDC. For example, receiving the flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working age adults, and older adults. A 2018 study revealed that from 2012 to 2015, flu vaccination among adults reduced the risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with flu by 82%.2

In addition, getting vaccinated can help prevent serious medical events associated with some chronic conditions. Separate studies have shown that the flu vaccination has been associated with reducing hospitalizations among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease.2

For the 2019-2020 season, vaccine manufacturers have estimated up to 169 million doses of influenza vaccine will be available in the United States. The composition of the vaccines has been updated to protect against the influenza viruses that research suggests will be most common this season.1

“We must continue to educate everyone, especially older adults (age 65 years and older) and those with chronic health conditions, about their risk for flu and pneumococcal disease,” Schaffner said. “Pneumococcal vaccines can be given at the same time as a flu vaccine, so it’s a great time to speak with a healthcare professional about which vaccines are best for you.”1


References
  1. US health officials urge influenza and pneumococcal disease vaccination [news release]. Washington, D.C.: National Foundation for Infectious Diseases; September 26, 2019. https://www.nfid.org/press-release-us-health-officials-urge-influenza-and-pneumococcal-disease-vaccination/. Accessed September 27, 2019.
  2. Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm?deliveryName=USCDC_7_3%20-%20DM9751#benefits. Published 2019. Accessed September 27, 2019.