Understand Various Flu Vaccine Options, Optimal Ways to Educate Patients

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The SHARE model from the CDC involves personalizing recommendations for patients and their needs, addressing any concerns they may have, and explaining the risks of remaining unvaccinated.

Health care professionals and medical clinicians face a civil challenge that affects the health of humanity on a global scale. The common influenza virus is significant enough to be on every pharmacist and doctor’s radar each year, with 1 billion individuals infected and 3 to 5 million individuals classified as severe cases annually.1

Those at greater risk of developing a severe case include:1,2,3

Covid virus vaccination, vaccine and doctor hands with plaster on patient arm in a medical hospital or clinic. Healthcare worker help, trust and safety flu shot antigen for protection against disease

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  • Individuals over 60 years of age
  • Patients suffering from multiple chronic health conditions, and/or other comorbidities
  • Those who are immunocompromised due to cancer, organ transplantation, or HIV
  • Those who are receiving high dose steroids or other medications to treat pulmonary complications (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc.), inflammatory or autoimmune diseases like lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, renal issues, metabolic diseases, and neurodevelopment issues.

The ability of the virus to spread easily from one person to another via respiratory droplets makes it a notable concern.1,2,4 The most efficacious and safest way to protect against influenza acute respiratory infection is to get the flu vaccine. However, after getting vaccinated, it is important to note that immunity protection will wane over time.2,3

There are several types of vaccines available for patients, including injectable, live, recombinant, and nasal spray vaccines. The following table is a description of the different vaccine types.1,2,4

Pharmacists are medication experts who are well-positioned to address many medication-related issues. They are leaders when it comes to vaccinating and mitigating the spread of influenza by educating patients on the importance of handwashing and wearing masks, particularly for those who are at high risk of contracting respiratory viral illnesses. This starts with always screening for high-risk individuals.

It is important to advocate for patient care and vaccination strategies by spreading information via newsletters, posters, and promotional materials that can be provided at your community or hospital pharmacy.5

The SHARE model from the CDC is designed to help clinicians provide solid recommendations.It involves personalizing recommendations for patients and their needs, addressing any concerns they may have, and explaining the risks of remaining unvaccinated.4

References

1. World Health Organization. Burden of Disease. Accessed December 19, 2023. https://www.who.int/teams/global-influenza-programme/surveillance-and-monitoring/burden-of-disease

2. American Society of Health System Pharmacists Council on Professional Affairs. ASHP guidelines on the pharmacist’s role in immunization. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2003;60(13):1371-1377. doi:10.1093/ajhp/60.13.1371

3. CDC. Medications that Weaken Your Immune System and Fungal Infections. Reviewed December 17, 2020. Accessed December 19, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/infections/immune-system.html#References

4. CDC. Protect Your Patients This Flu Season. Updated August 2020. Accessed December 19, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/professionals/vaccination/protect-your-patients.pdf

5. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Employer Guidance Reducing Healthcare Workers’ Exposures to Seasonal Flu Virus. Accessed December 19, 2023. https://www.osha.gov/seasonal-flu/healthcare-employers

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