The Texas Department of State Health Services, along with the American Medical Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), urges physicians to continue to vaccinate patients against the flu as long as the vaccine supply lasts. The Web sites listed here will help you prevent the spread of disease among your patients, while providing you with helpful resources.
Texas Medical Association
The Be Wise - Immunize SM Physician Toolkit was unveiled at TexMed 2007. The resource reflects TMA's continuing effort to increase statewide immunization rates, promote immunizations as an effective and safe means of preventing disease, and aid doctors in managing their practices through education, communication, and action. The 44-page toolkit is available online at www.texmed.org and features best practice guidelines, communication tools, immunization schedules, ImmTrac Texas Immunization Registry information, outreach initiative details, vaccine safety standards, and other Texas-specific resources. From the home page, click on Public Health and Science from the menu. Select Health and Science Initiatives, and click on Be Wise - Immunize.
Texas Department of State Health Services
The Immunization Branch of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize , is a repository of Texas immunization information, schedules, and school requirements, as well as information on the Texas Vaccines for Children program and vaccine-preventable diseases. Click on Providers to open the latest news, bulletins, documents, and forms. And, visit the DSHS Infectious Disease Control Unit site, www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu , to access the pandemic influenza preparedness plan and to view weekly influenza surveillance reports for Texas. You also can learn more about the U.S. Influenza Sentinel Provider Surveillance Network, which enables CDC to monitor the impact of influenza and to guide prevention and control activities, vaccine strain selection, and patient care. Participating physicians submit data on influenza-like illnesses each week.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC Seasonal Flu Web site, www.cdc.gov/flu , is a warehouse of resources and information for physicians who vaccinate. You can keep track of flu activity around the nation with CDC's weekly surveillance reports. Stay up to date with the 2007-08 recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the What's New bulletin. Flu prevention educational materials are also available for you to share with your patients. You can download flu season posters, view seasonal flu podcasts, and print materials in Spanish. Click on Infection Control for information on flu prevention in acute-care and long-term care facilities, isolation guidelines, and resources on personal protective equipment in health care settings.
American Lung Association
The Faces of Influenza Web site, presented by the American Lung Association's (ALA's) Influenza Prevention Program, features portraits of people who represent groups at high risk for contracting influenza and much more. Visit www.facesofinfluenza.org to access helpful tools for physicians, such as downloadable office posters, patient brochures, and fact sheets. In addition to viewing the portrait gallery and reading about target vaccination groups, you can learn more about ALA's grassroots campaign to encourage more Americans to get flu shots. Download the campaign toolkit; letter, article, and print advertising templates; and media outreach materials. And, you can promote your scheduled public influenza clinics through the association's Flu Clinic Locator.
National Influenza Vaccine Summit
The National Influenza Vaccine Summit, cosponsored by AMA and CDC, has been in existence since 2000 and convenes annually. The summit consists of more than 400 participants representing more than 100 stakeholder organizations, which include health care and public health professionals, vaccine manufacturers and distributors, consumers, federal agencies, and others interested in preventing vaccine-preventable diseases. With a message to "Prevent Influenza Now!" the summit's Web site, www.preventinfluenza.org , links physicians to information about influenza disease; vaccine production, ordering, and distribution; vaccine recommendations and procedures; and vaccine programs in schools. The summit newsletters contain helpful, up-to-date information on flu-related developments and can be accessed by clicking on National Influenza Vaccine Summit at the top of the page.
MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, e-mail Crystal Conde . Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.
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