Influenza (flu) activity in the United States has continued to increase since October 2019, with all US regions experiencing elevated levels of influenza like illness. Influenza B/Victoria viruses have been the most common viruses circulating so far this flu season, followed by influenza A (H1N1) and A (H3N2) viruses. It is unusual to see influenza B as the predominant circulating strain early in the season. As of December 14th, there have been 19 flu-associated pediatric deaths reported this season. 13 cases tested positive for influenza B, 6 were confimed as influenza A.
Now is the Right Time to Promote Flu Vaccination: 5 Things Pediatricians Can Do
With family and friends gathering for the holidays, it is now especially important to make sure that those not already vaccinated get their seasonal flu vaccine. Take steps to ensure that your staff, your patients, and their family members (especially pregnant women and those families that include children or persons with certain underlying medical conditions) receive their flu vaccination:
- Promote the importance of flu vaccination on social media. Throughout the 2019-2020 flu season, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will utilize the hashtags #Ivax2Protect, #VaccinesWork, and #FightFlu. Visit the AAP Immunizations web page for additional information and sample tweets that can be shared on your own social media accounts.
- Direct families to critical resources. HealthyChildren.org is the AAP website for parents and includes several resources on flu that pediatricians can share with families:
- Encourage pregnant women to get vaccinated. Flu shots are recommended for all women during their pregnancy for their own protection against flu and its complications. Pregnant women who are vaccinated against the flu at any time during their pregnancy also provide protection to their infants during their first several months of life (when they are too young to receive the flu vaccine themselves).
- Share a flu vaccination video in your waiting room or on your website. The AAP National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness developed a 1 minute animated video that emphasizes the importance of everyone receiving a flu vaccination every year, focusing on child care professionals and the children in their care. The video also is available in Spanish.
Remain informed of AAP recommendations by reviewing the policy statement Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2019–2020
and the AAP Influenza Implementation Guidance
for the 2019-2020 flu season.
New Article: Influenza Vaccine Requirements in United States Child Care Centers
A new article was released in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society titled, "Influenza Vaccine Requirements in United States Child Care Centers". This article is based on a 2008 and 2016 survey assessing directors' reports of their child care centers' pandemic influenza preparation before and after the 2009 H1N1 novel influenza pandemic. The authors conclude that more states should pass laws requiring influenza vaccine for children and adult caregivers at child care programs to increase influenza vaccination rates. Click here for the AAP News article.
Free Online Course: Preventing and Treating Influenza: 2019-2020 Season
The AAP offers a free online PediaLink course that provides key information and recommendations specific to the 2019-2020 flu season. The purpose of the course is to educate pediatric health care professionals on the current AAP policy recommendations for routine use of seasonal flu vaccine and antiviral medications for the prevention and treatment of flu in infants, children, and adolescents. The course may take up to 2 hours to complete.
Influenza Recommendations for Children: Webinar for Clinicians
In September 2019, the AAP collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) webinar titled, "2019–2020 Recommendations for Influenza Prevention and Treatment in Children: An Update for Pediatric Providers". During this webinar, AAP and CDC experts discussed strategies that primary care providers and medical subspecialists can use to improve flu prevention and control in children for the 2019-2020 flu season. Click here for the materials, including PowerPoint slides and a recording of the presentation.
See the AAP Red Book Online Influenza Resource page, CDC FluView, or contact DisasterReady@aap.org.
This message was supported in part by Cooperative Agreement Number 5NU38OT000282-02-00, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.