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Influenza Vaccination Update

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Influenza or “the flu” is an acute viral disease of the respiratory tract. Outbreaks and epidemics occur nearly every year, with the peak flu season in the Northern Hemisphere starting in November and continuing through March. The clinical impact of influenza varies from year to year. The flu can cause significant illness and death, especially in vulnerable populations such as infants, elders, and immunocompromised persons. (See the Patient Connection for more information.) However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 5% to 20% of the U.S. population is affected each year, with an average of 226,000 individuals hospitalized for influenza-related complications. Over a 30-year period, yearly estimates of flu-related deaths have ranged from 3,000 to as many as 49,000.

All persons 6 months of age or older should get an influenza vaccination every year. Universal influenza vaccination has been the recommendation since early 2010, when CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to expand protection against influenza in the U.S. Despite this recommendation, in 2012 only 35% of U.S. adults had received a flu vaccination by early to mid-November. Vaccination rates in U.S. children have also been lower than expected; in 2012, only 40% of children aged 6 months or older received a vaccine by mid-November.

Pharmacists can play a key role in promoting and maintaining high immunization rates. Staying current on new influenza developments, including new vaccine products and recommended immunization schedules, is critical for guiding patients. This issue provides key information on the vaccines available for the 2013-2014 flu season including precautions, side effects, and use in special populations.


Publication Date: 08/18/2013
Expiration Date: 08/18/2016
CE Credit: 1.5 (0.15 CEU)
Type of Activity: Knowledge-based

This program was developed by The Rx Consultant and published by Continuing Education Network, Inc. The Rx Consultant accepts no advertising or financial support from the pharmaceutical industry and is funded solely by the purchase of programs. The Rx Consultant is dedicated to providing unbiased, balanced information to health care practitioners.

Programs developed by The Rx Consultant are written by health care providers with expertise in the topic area, peer-reviewed, extensively edited, and fact-checked. This development process was created to insure that every program presents information that is current, accurate, relevant to "real world" health care providers, and written in an easy reading, "plain English" style.


Colleen M. Terriff, PharmD, BCPS (AQ-ID), AAHIVP, Tracy Farnen, PharmD, and Pamela Mausner, MD

Disclosure Statement

Dr. Terriff is a reviewer for Lexi-Comp, Inc. and Pharmaceutical Coordinator for the Spokane City Department of Emergency Management/MMRS. Dr. Farnen and Dr. Mausner report no financial or personal relationship with any commercial interest producing, marketing, reselling, or distributing a product or service that appears in this issue.

Target Audience

This accredited program is targeted to pharmacists .

Goals & Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

    1. Describe the symptoms of influenza and the patient groups at high risk for complications. Counsel patients about how they can protect themselves and others from influenza.
    2. State the dosing requirements (children and adults), administration routes, and contraindications for influenza vaccination. Discuss the vaccines available for the 2013-2014 season.
    3. Describe the safety, efficacy, and common side effects of influenza vaccines.
    4. Discuss influenza vaccine considerations for immuno-compromised patients, the elderly, and pregnant women.

Accreditation Statements

The Rx Consultant is a publication of Continuing Education Network, Inc.

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Continuing Education Network, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

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Continuing Education Network is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 13118. Programs approved by CA BRN are accepted by most State Boards of Nursing.

ACPE Universal Activity Number: 0428-0000-13-011-H01-P

Exam & Credit Statement Procedures

Upon successful completion of this program and the post test (70%), 1.5 hours of continuing education credit will be awarded. To receive credit and your exam score, please complete the exam questions and program evaluation.

Editorial and Review Board

Chief Editor and CE Administrator

Terry M. Baker, PharmD

Managing Editor

Tracy Farnen, PharmD

Associate Editors

James Chan, PharmD, PhD
Pharmacy Quality and Outcomes Coordinator
Kaiser Permanente
Oakland, CA

Associate Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Richard Ron Finley, B.S. Pharm.,R.Ph.
Clinical Pharmacist (volunteer faculty)
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Memory and Aging Center
Lecturer (Emeritus) UCSF, Department of Clinical Pharmacy
Health Sciences Clinical Professor, UCSF School of Pharmacy
San Francisco, CA

Consultant Pharmacist
Ray Dolby Brain Health Center, Sutter Health/CPMC
San Francisco, CA

Consult Pharmacist Aging and Adult Health Services
San Francisco Health Department
San Francisco, CA

Julio R. Lopez, PharmD, FCSHP
Chief of Pharmacy Service
VA Northern California Health Care System

Adjunct Clinical Professor
College of Pharmacy
Touro University
Vallejo, CA

Assistant Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA Adjunct Professor
Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy
University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA

Visiting Associate Professor and Lecturer
Nursing School
Samuel Merritt University
Oakland, CA

Pamela Mausner, MD

Helen Berlie, Pharm.D. CDE, BCACP
Clinical Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI

Ambulatory Care Specialist - Diabetes
Health Centers Detroit Medical Group
Detroit, MI

Senior Editorial Advisor

Gerard Hatheway, PharmD, PhD

Editorial Advisors

Belinda M. Danielson, RPh
Christopher M. DeSoto, PharmD
Angie S. Graham, PharmD
Cynthia Chan Huang, PharmD, MBA
Fred Plageman, PharmD

Editorial Advisor and Clinical Practice Consultant for Nurse Practitioners

Emily K.
Meuleman, RN, C, MS

About the Rx Consultant

The Rx Consultant is a monthly publication dedicated to providing health care professionals with the information they need to educate patients about drugs and manage drug therapy. The reader is responsible for confirming the information presented here and interpreting it in relation to each patient's specific situation before utilizing the information.

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