We are now entering Flu season. Each year, millions of people are infected with Flu, as well as hundreds of thousands hospitalized due to complications from the Flu and unfortunately tens of thousands have serious complications including death.
The risk of getting the Flu can be significantly reduced by getting a flu vaccine.
As a health care professional, your strong recommendation is a critical factor that affects whether our members get an influenza vaccine. Most adults believe vaccines are important, but they need a reminder from you to get vaccinated. Please follow up with each patient during subsequent appointments to ensure the patient received an influenza vaccine. If the patient still is unvaccinated, repeat the recommendation to try to identify and address any questions or concerns.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests using the SHARE method to make a strong vaccine recommendation and provide important information to help patients make informed decisions about vaccinations:
SHARE the reasons why the influenza vaccine is right for the patient given his or her age, health status, lifestyle, occupation, or other risk factors.
HIGHLIGHT positive experiences with influenza vaccines (personal or in your practice), as appropriate, to reinforce the benefits and strengthen confidence in influenza vaccination.
ADDRESS patient questions and any concerns about the influenza vaccine, including side effects, safety, and vaccine effectiveness in plain and understandable language.
REMIND patients that influenza vaccines protect them and their loved ones from serious influenza illness and influenza-related complications.
EXPLAIN the potential costs of getting influenza, including serious health effects, time lost (such as missing work or family obligations), and financial costs.
For your information, below is a video that addresses the many myths and facts related to the Flu vaccine. I encourage you to view it and share with others. We ask you for your partnership in ensuring that all our members receive the Flu vaccine this upcoming season. It could save a life.
Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Steven Arnold, MD
Senior Medical Officer