CDC Health Advisory – Health Care Providers Urged to Recommend Vaccinations to Patients Now

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December 14, 2023

Influenza (Flu)
2023 - 2024 Flu Season 

Health Care Providers Urged to Recommend Vaccination to Patients Now

Influenza, COVID-19, and RSV Vaccination Lagging During the 2023-2024 Fall and Winter Season 

CDC issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory to ensure health care providers are aware of the current low vaccination rates for influenza (flu), COVID-19, and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). Low vaccination rates, coupled with ongoing increased national and international respiratory disease activity caused by multiple pathogens, including influenza viruses, SARS-CoV-2, and RSV, could lead to more severe disease and increased health care capacity strain in the coming weeks. Health care providers should strongly recommend immunizations to patients now, as well as treatment, testing, and other preventive measures to protect patients against respiratory diseases before holidays, social gatherings, or travel this winter.

What You Need to Know

Health Care Providers Urged to Recommend Vaccinations to Patients Now

  • CDC is tracking increased respiratory disease activity in the United States for several respiratory pathogens, including influenza viruses, SARS-CoV-2, and RSV, across multiple indicators such as laboratory test positivity, emergency department visits, wastewater surveillance, and hospitalizations.
  • Currently, the highest respiratory disease activity in the United States is occurring across the southern half of the country, with increasing activity in northern states.
  • Influenza, COVID-19, and RSV can be severe, especially among unvaccinated patients. Vaccination against influenza, COVID-19, and RSV reduces the risk of severe disease, including pneumonia, hospitalization, and death.
  • Influenza vaccination coverage is low in all age groups and lower than rates compared to the same week of the 2022-2023 season. As of mid-November 2023, there were 7 million fewer influenza vaccine doses administered to adults in pharmacies and physician offices, as compared with the 2022-2023 influenza season.
  • Health care providers should strongly recommend and provide (or refer to a vaccination provider) immunizations against influenza, COVID-19, RSV (for pregnant people and infants), pneumococcal disease, and pertussis to all eligible patients as soon as possible. Health care providers should talk to their patients 60 years and older about whether RSV vaccination is right for them.
  • Everyone 6 months and older should receive a 2023-2024 seasonal influenza vaccine.
  • Most people need only one dose for the season. Some children 6 months–8 years need two doses spaced 4 weeks apart.
  • Adults 65 years and older should receive high-dose, adjuvanted, or recombinant influenza vaccine, if available.
  • While vaccination is the primary means for preventing influenza, COVID-19, and RSV, antiviral medications are important adjuncts used to treat persons with severe illness and those at increased risk for complications. Both influenza and COVID-19 antiviral medications are most effective in reducing complications when treatment is started as early as possible after symptom onset.
  • People should also be made aware of everyday prevention measures (including washing hands, staying home when sick, and wearing a well-fitting mask if you choose to wear a mask).
  • Use to find a location to receive COVID-19 and influenza vaccines.
  • Uninsured and underinsured adults can receive COVID-19 vaccines at no cost to them through CDC's Bridge Access Program.

Twitter @CDCFlu

CDC’s latest preliminary, in-season flu burden estimates suggest that flu has caused at least 2.6 million illnesses, 1.2 million medical visits, 26,000 hospitalizations, and 1,600 deaths so far this season. There’s still time to protect against flu by getting a #FluVax this season. Full report here:   

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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