Flu Vaccine 2014-2015 – Take the Vaccination Pledge with your Alixa Clinical Pharmacist!

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Less than half of all Americans received the influenza vaccine last year.  Overall, 75.2% of healthcare workers were vaccinated in the 2013-14 season.  Coverage was higher for health care workers in settings where vaccination was required (97.8%) compared to settings where vaccination was not required but promoted (72.4%) or settings where there was no requirement or promotion (47.9%).  Coverage increased when compared to the prior 2 years for all settings with the exception of Long-term Care.  Health care workers in Long-term Care had the lowest coverage at 63%.  We need to work as a team to improve our status within the healthcare setting.  Vaccination is safe and recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.

Vaccination of all employees working in Long-term Care is critical because our residents have a decreased response to the vaccine and are at greater risk of complications, including death from the flu.  Our best tool to protect our residents is getting vaccinated ourselves.

Vaccines Available:

Standard Dose Trivalent (i.e. Fluzone) is approved for ages 6 months and older.  Trivalent vaccines protect against two influenza A and one influenza B virus.

High Dose Trivalent Vaccine (Fluzone High Dose) – approved for people age 65 and older.  More effective in preventing influenza than a standard dose vaccine in adults age 65 years and older per a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Intradermal Trivalent Vaccine is approved for ages 18-64 and utilizes a smaller needle that is injected into the skin instead of the muscle.

Recombinant Trivalent Vaccine that is egg free(Flublok) is approved for ages 18-49 whom have an egg allergy.

Quadrivalent Flu shot protects against two influenza A and two influenza B viruses.  Different vaccines are approved for different age groups – visit the CDC website or ask your healthcare professional for details.

Quadrivalent Nasal Spray Vaccine is approved for use in people age 2 through 49 years old.

Which Vaccine is best?

The CDC doesn’t favor any one vaccine over another but rather recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get vaccinated.  Protect yourself and your Long-term Care residents – Take the CDC Vaccination Pledge at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw/pledge/index.html.

N Engl J Med 2014; 371:635-645

Guest blogger:
Matthew Palmer PharmD, CGP
AlixaRx Clinical Pharmacist

Dr. Palmer is a Clinical Pharmacist for AlixaRx.  He provides clinical consulting services to skilled nursing facilities in the southern Wisconsin area.  Matt is a certified geriatric pharmacist with over 9 years experience in the Long-term care arena.  He also serves on the Senior and Long-term Care Section Board for the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin and is a Clinical Instructor for the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy.  Matt has a Bachelors of Science from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.