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What's the Latest with the Flu?

June 15, 2019

Current Influenza Activity

Influenza activity continues to decrease. As of June 8, 2019, there have been 119 influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported this season (187 deaths last season). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends continuing to encourage annual influenza vaccination through June 30, when this current season's vaccine expires. It is a good time to follow-up and vaccinate infants who were previously too young to get flu vaccine, but who are now 6 months of age (please note that two doses given at least four weeks apart are recommended for children age 6 months through 8 years of age who are receiving an influenza vaccine for the first time). See the AAP policy "Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2018-2019" for related recommendations.

Prepare for the Next Flu Season!

The AAP Influenza Implementation Guidance includes tips to help pediatricians, nurses, office managers and staff prepare for the next flu season, and now this comprehensive guide has gone digital.

  • Obtain answers to practice management questions on vaccine ordering and storage, patient scheduling, payment and coding, and more.

  • Find links to the current AAP influenza policy statement and practice policies on health care worker vaccination and liability and risk management.

  • Access parent-friendly materials and speaking points to share influenza messages with families.

The AAP will no longer express a preference for the flu shot over nasal spray flu vaccine for children in the 2019-2020 flu season. The recommendation comes after the Academy reviewed current data on vaccine coverage and effectiveness and flu season characteristics. The full 2019-2020 AAP influenza policy statement will be available in September 2019. See the AAP News article for additional information. The supply of nasal spray flu vaccine will be limited during the 2019-'20 season due to manufacturing constraints. See the AAP News article and the AAP Immunizations Supply Web page for additional details.

It is never too early to prepare for next flu season, so consider initiating team meetings soon to plan practice improvements for the upcoming flu season:

  1. Discuss what worked or didn't work in your practice this past season.

  2. Determine what improvements might be made to increase influenza immunization rates.

  3. Develop or update written infection control measures or office protocols for minimizing transmission of influenza and other infectious diseases.

  4. Plan and schedule staff training to review standard precautions, infection control, seasonal influenza, and the importance of immunization.

  5. Discuss the expectations for staff to document their own flu vaccination (See the Influenza Immunization for All Health Care Personnel: Keep It Mandatory for ideas).

  6. Consider whether adjustments are needed to your practice's pre-booked flu vaccine order with vaccine manufacturers. Generally, providers can continue to place orders and/or adjust orders for privately purchased flu vaccine as long as product is available.

  7. Consider reviewing the Payment and Coding section for guidance on obtaining payment for flu vaccines and their administration.

For more information, see section 9 in the AAP Preparedness Checklist for Pediatric Practices.

Additional Information

Visit the AAP Red Book Online Influenza Resource page or CDC FluView. All "What's the Latest with the Flu" messages also are archived. Similar messages have been written for child care providers, too.

This will be the last "What's the Latest with the Flu" message for the 2018-2019 influenza season. It is expected that the messaging series will return in September 2019. Thank you everyone for your influenza prevention and control efforts. For more information, e-mail DisasterReady@aap.org.