CDC releases flu vaccine guidelines

Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months and older who do not have contraindications, said CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) in its 2020—21 influenza statement.

According to Lisa Grohskopf, MD, MPH, CAPT, from CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, the influenza vaccine is even more important this season “as a means to reduce the overall burden of acute respiratory illness in our communities and health care systems, particularly in a setting where we will have close circulation of COVID-19.”

CDC is asking for coordinated messages from providers, health departments, and professional societies on the importance of the influenza vaccination as well as where patients can receive a flu shot. The agency said an emphasis should be placed on vaccinating high-risk groups and their contacts and caregivers.

The new seasonal vaccine includes updates to the influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, A(H3N2), and B/Victoria components. Additionally, two new vaccines have been approved for those aged 65 and older: FLUAD Quadrivalent and Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent. Fluzone is expected to replace the previous trivalent formulation of Fluzone High-Dose, and FLUAD Quadrivalent will be available in addition to the previous trivalent formulation of FLUAD.

Health care practitioners should refer to specific guidance from CDC on enhanced infection control measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in their practice settings, specifically what is recommended for personal protective equipment and physical distancing measures. CDC also included guidance and best practices for vaccination clinics held in satellite, temporary, or off-site locations.

Routine vaccination should be deferred for those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of symptoms and until criteria have been met for that individual to discontinue isolation.