What’s the Latest with the Flu, June 2021
KNOW YOUR COMMUNITY PREVALENCE OF INFLUENZA AND COVID-19
The number of influenza positive specimens reported by public health labs has remained unusually low, likely due to the COVID-19 mitigation measures in place. One pediatric influenza-associated death has been reported to CDC since October 2020. Influenza-like illness (ILI) has remained below the national baseline of 2.6%. ILI surveillance may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and should be interpreted with caution (Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report | CDC). Influenza is unpredictable, and it is not possible to know how severe the next flu season will be.
The best way to be protected against the flu and its potentially serious complications is to get vaccinated with the influenza vaccine each fall.
Data on COVID-19 Among Children
Data on COVID-19 among children are updated on a weekly basis and can be found here.
Data on Community Prevalence of COVID-19
CDC COVID Data Tracker is regularly updated with information on community prevalence of COVID-19, data about testing and vaccination rates, demographic trends, and other information at the national and state level.
The Community Profile Report provides a plain language summary of key indicators for all regions, states, core-based statistical areas (CBSAs), and counties across the United States. It provides a snapshot that focuses on recent outcomes in the last seven days and changes relative to the weeks prior, and provides contextual information at the county, CBSA, state, and regional levels.
ADDRESS MISSED IMMUNIZATIONS AMONG THE PEDIATRIC POPULATION
As we head into summertime, it is a good time for practices to ensure their pediatric patient population is caught up on routine childhood and adolescent immunizations that were missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to CDC, public sector vaccine orders dropped 14% in 2020-2021 compared with 2019.
Clinicians and practices can employ the following strategies and resources to increase immunization rates at their practices:
- Send reminders to families about school immunization requirements.
- Implement provider prompts; electronic prompts in Electronic Health Records (EHRs) or notes/flags in paper charts.
- Hold family friendly office hours.
- Assign an Immunization Champion who can lead practice-based efforts on catch-up for your practice.
- Provide a strong recommendation for all vaccines on the current immunization schedule.
- Help address health beliefs and barriers about influenza and other routinely recommended vaccines.
- Educate patients and their parents.
- Include all recommended vaccinations at every visit. Co-administration of the COVID-19 vaccine with other vaccines is acceptable.
- Do not miss any opportunity to vaccinate!
Click here for more information on how practices can address missed immunizations.
The AAP offers several toolkits where clinicians and providers can access sample texts, videos, and photos sized for social media platforms to promote immunization catch-up:
APPLY EXPERTISE WITH FLU VACCINATION CLINICS TO COVID-19 VACCINATION
Offering flu vaccination clinics for patients, and even members of patients' families, is not new for pediatricians. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted more practices to adopt new flu clinic models such as drive thru or curbside clinics, or expanded hours of existing clinics.
Pediatric practices can apply this experience to offering COVID-19 vaccination clinics. With the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for 12–15 year olds, pediatric practices that sign up to be providers of this vaccine may consider holding a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for adolescents. The AAP offers information, resources, and tips to help your practice host a successful vaccination event. Check out the information here.
ACTION STEPS FOR PEDIATRICIANS
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now authorized and recommended for persons 12 years of age and up. Distribution of COVID-19 vaccine to pediatric practices is handled at the state level. States are now distributing to primary care practices. Pediatricians and their teams can prepare by doing the following:
- Administer catch-up routine vaccinations to patients who are behind.
- Promote COVID-19 vaccine confidence.
- Know the COVID-19 vaccination sites in your community.
Practices that want to administer COVID-19 vaccines can consider the following:
- Enroll to administer COVID-19 vaccine in your state.
- Learn more about providing COVID-19 vaccine to adults for those who wish to do so, including enrolling in Medicare to provide COVID-19 vaccine to seniors.
Click here for more information on what pediatricians can do now.
See the AAP Red Book Online Influenza Resource page, AAP Red Book Online COVID-19, and CDC FluView.
This message is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $200,000 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.