CDC: Flu Vaccination Rates Remain Low 


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported low overall flu vaccination rates of 40% for this season, a similar number as last year’s coverage.

The current estimates are based on survey data from up to early November and show that 37% of children aged 6 months to 17 years and 41% of adults aged ≥18 years have received the flu vaccine. The Healthy People 2020 goal is to reach 70% coverage across all age groups.

“We are urging parents to make sure their children get a flu shot this season, as the nasal-spray vaccine is not recommended for the 2016–2017 flu season. An annual flu vaccine is very important protection for children,” said Joe Bresee, MD, chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch of CDC’s Influenza Division.

Source: CDC: MPR

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What’s the Latest With the Flu? A Message for Caregivers and Teachers


The 2015-2016 influenza season (flu) is here. As you know, influenza infection can be serious, resulting in hospitalization or death of some children every year. Influenza immunization is the best strategy to reduce infection and spread. Therefore, it’s critically important for everyone to get vaccinated for seasonal influenza now. This important approach puts the health and safety of everyone in the child care setting first.

Annual influenza vaccine is recommended for all people 6 months of age and older. The best way to protect young children from getting infected is for all family members and people who take care of the child to get immunized. This is called “cocooning”, and it is especially important for adults who care for infants younger than 6 months, because these children are too young to get vaccinated.

Pregnant caregivers are at higher risk of severe illness from influenza. Flu shots may be given to pregnant women at any time during pregnancy. The vaccine will protect expecting mothers and their unborn babies, and will help protect their newborn baby in the first few months of life.

This Season’s Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine includes either 3 strains (trivalent) or 4 strains (quadrivalent). These are the strains that are anticipated to circulate around the US this flu season.

The trivalent vaccine protects against 1 strain from last year and 2 new strains. These are:

  • Influenza A (H1N1)
  • Influenza A (H3N2)
  • Influenza B

The quadrivalent vaccine protects against the 3 strains from the trivalent vaccine and adds a different influenza B strain (the same as last season). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend one vaccine over another this season. Just be sure everyone gets immunized!

Prepare Ahead to Prevent the Spread of Germs

Once flu starts circulating, it can be challenging to keep germs from spreading. While you can catch the flu any time of the year, the virus is most common in the US between October and May and usually peaks around January, February, and March.  It is also hard to know whether children or caregivers actually have the flu. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.

Policies in your child care center can limit the spread of the influenza virus and should focus on hand washing; cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting surfaces and toys; and excluding children and caregivers who are sick. Any child with respiratory symptoms (cough, runny nose, or sore throat) and fever should be excluded from their child care program. The child can return after the fever has resolved (without the use of fever-reducing medicine), the child is able to participate in normal activities, and staff can care for the child without compromising their ability to care for the other children in the group.

Take Steps NOW to Help Your Program Prepare

  • Encourage all staff, children, and parents to get the flu vaccine now. Everyone needs a flu vaccine each year!
  • Get on the list to receive details about the AAP influenza webinar to be scheduled for November 2015. E-mail for information and a calendar appointment.
  • Complete the free AAP/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention online course “Influenza Prevention & Control: Strategies for Early Education & Child Care Providers”.
  • Help families and community leaders understand the important roles they play in reducing the spread of flu. Review the new handout “Influenza Prevention and Control: Strategies for Early Education and Child Care Programs” and plan to distribute a customized letter to parents about influenza prevention and control practices in your program.
  • Examine and revise your program’s written plan for seasonal flu.
  • Invite a pediatrician or child care health consultant to provide influenza prevention education to your staff.
  • Use posters and handouts to educate caregivers and staff about proper hand hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette.
  • Update family contact information and child records, so parents can be reached quickly if they need to pick up their sick child.

Additional Resources:

  • AAP Preparing Child Care Programs for Pandemic and Seasonal Influenza
  • AAP Preventing the Flu: Resources for Parents and Child Care Providers
  • AAP Caring for Our Children National Health and Safety Performance Standards
  • AAP Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools: A Quick Reference Guide
  • CDC Fact Sheet No More Excuses: You Need a Flu Vaccine!
  • CDC Flu Information – Free Print Materials
  • Head Start Emergency Preparedness Manual: 2015 Edition
  • Public Health Emergencies Chapter on Page 27
  • Influenza Prevention and Control Appendix on Page 65
  • Families Fighting Flu Web Site
  • Prevent Childhood Influenza Web Site

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics,

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Head Start Health Services Newsletter: Preventing and Managing the Flu



Seasonal influenza (flu) is now active in the United States. The flu virus may cause serious illness that may result in hospitalization or death. The flu mostly affects the respiratory system (ears, nose, throat and lungs), but may also affect the whole body. The flu season usually starts in the fall and ends in the spring, although each year is different. People can get the flu more than once per year and many times in their lives. Influenza viruses are un- predictable, so it’s wise to do everything possible to protect yourself, fellow Head Start staff, and chil- dren in your program!

Healthy people can get very sick and sometimes die from influenza. It also is important to remember that the flu may make some people more sick than others. These people include children younger than 2 years of age, adults 65 and older, pregnant wom- en, and people with chronic medical conditions, such as: asthma, diabetes mellitus, hemodynami- cally significant cardiac disease, immunosuppres- sion, or neurologic and neurodevelopmental disor- ders. This is why vaccination remains the most im- portant step in protecting all of us against influenza and its complications. The flu vaccine is safe, does not cause the flu, and helps prevent spreading the flu from person to person.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

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What’s the Latest with the Flu: Information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)


Flu activity is decreasing overall in the United States, yet influenza viruses are still circulating and causing disease. A total of 75 influenza-associated pediatric deaths for the 2013-2014 season have been reported to date. Influenza has been known to still circulate into May and June.

Vaccination remains the most important step in protecting against influenza. The AAP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urge everyone who still has not been vaccinated to get vaccinated now. Yearly vaccination is especially important for people who come in contact with high risk children in order to protect the child (or children) from the flu. An estimate of this season’s flu vaccine effectiveness to prevent influenza-associated illness was recently completed by the CDC.

Planning for the next flu season is already underway. The vaccine viruses recommended by the World Health Organization and the US Food and Drug Administration Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee for the 2014-15 influenza season are the same as those for the 2013-14 influenza season. Everyone will still need their flu vaccine again next flu season, but some children, who normally would need two doses, will only need one dose because the strains will be unchanged from this season.

For more detailed influenza information, see the AAP Red Book Online Influenza Resource page or the CDC FluView. All American Academy of Pediatrics “What’s the Latest with the Flu” messages can be found online  The AAP looks forward to working with each of you on influenza prevention and control efforts next year.

Source: Health Child Care America