Flu and flu-related pneumonia claimed the lives of nearly 10,000 Texans last season, hitting the elderly and children especially hard.
To change the trajectory of the upcoming flu season, the Texas Medical Association invites physicians to host a Be Wise — ImmunizeSM flu shot clinic in October, and also urge patients to get vaccinated early.
We can do better than the 2017-18 flu season: Early vaccination rates (in November 2017) averaged only around 40 percent for all age groups nationally. Among Hispanics, flu vaccination rates dropped 7.7 percent from the previous year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Pat yourselves on the back, though: Almost 70 percent of health care professionals around the country received an early flu vaccination, the CDC also reported. Sadly, long-term care workers had the lowest rates at 58.5 percent.
TMA’s Be Wise — Immunize has tools you can use to help protect your patients during the fast-approaching influenza season:
- Provide flu facts at a glance with TMA’s flu infographic (in English and Spanish). Post a copy in your waiting room, download it to your website or Facebook page, or hand out copies.
- Share more in-depth information about the importance of an annual flu vaccination with TMA’s flu fact sheet (in English and Spanish).
- Remind your employees about the importance of getting their flu vaccination with this poster to hang in your break room or other areas where your staff gather.
- Use TMA’s educational and giveaway items at your Be Wise — Immunize flu shot clinic this fall.
In addition, you can use live attenuated influenza vaccine (FluMist) this season for some patients.
Oct. 1 is Influenza Awareness Day, which the Texas Legislature created in 2013 to raise awareness of the health risks associated with the flu.
Consider hosting a weekend or after-hours clinic then to assist your patients, or reach out to a group in your community that might not otherwise get vaccinated.
To order our flu tools or to learn about hosting a shot clinic, contact Tammy Wishard, TMA’s outreach coordinator, at (512) 370-1470.
Be Wise – Immunize is a joint initiative led by TMA physicians and medical students, and the TMA Alliance. Funding for TMA’s Be Wise — ImmunizeSM is provided in 2018 by the Texas Medical Association Foundation thanks to H-E-B, TMF Health Quality Institute, Pfizer Inc., and gifts from physicians and their families.
Be Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.