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Nurse Practitioners Lead by Example During Influenza Season


Combat flu season with these official resources, tools and more from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners®.

Health care providers and patients alike can be thankful that the challenges of the last few years were not compounded by an increase in influenza cases during the 2021-2022 season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the “severity of the 2021-22 influenza season was low, with two waves of influenza A activity.” The CDC suggests this may be because “the adoption of COVID-19–related mitigation measures might have had an impact on the timing or severity of influenza activity.”

Unfortunately, the data is now trending in the other direction. According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), “laboratory-confirmed flu hospitalizations reported to the CDC FluSurv-NET hospitalization network are the highest seen at this point of the season in 10 years.” Alarmingly, the NFID also notes that “individuals with chronic health conditions are at an increased risk for severe flu illness” this influenza season.

Patients depend upon their nurse practitioners (NP) to provide them with the facts about influenza and prevention, and as The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is here to equip you with the latest information and resources to track influenza outbreaks and tools to encourage vaccination.

Vaccines and Influenza

This influenza season is a time to remind patients to get vaccinated, dispel myths about vaccination and lead by example.

  • Recognize that the 2022-2023 influenza season is a little different from previous years. In particular, the CDC confirms that the composition of flu vaccines has been updated. Additionally, the age indication for the cell culture-based inactivated flu vaccine, Flucelvax Quadrivalent, changed from two years and older to six months and older.
  • Know that the CDC advises that “ideally it’s recommended to get vaccinated by the end of October,” but, “it’s important to know that vaccination after October can still provide protection during the peak of flu season.” In other words, it’s not too late to vaccinate.
  • Dispel vaccine myths, many of which also apply to the COVID-19 vaccine. Patients may believe — consciously or not — that the flu is not dangerous, that flu shots may cause the flu and much more. Provide them with resources, like this guide from the CDC, to bust flu myths and give patients the context they need to make the right decision.
  • Inform patients who have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine that they can take part in vaccine coadministration and receive both the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine during the same visit to their NP or other health care provider. Your busiest patients may not be aware that coadministration is even an option, which may be welcome news to overwhelmed parents and professionals.

More Resources to Support Your Success

Keep track of influenza on CDC’s webpage dedicated to flu updates and learn more about influenza through two continuing education (CE) activities offered by AANP. Influenza for the Primary Care NP highlights the importance of influenza vaccination, identifies tools to recruit patients to get their influenza vaccination and more. This activity offers 1.0 contact hours of CE credit, 0.5 of which may be applied toward pharmacology.

Influenza Prevention is an accredited AANP podcast activity, featuring a conversation between Ruth Carrico, PhD, DNP, FNP-C, CIC, FSHEA, FNAP, and Audrey M. Stevenson, PhD, MPH, MSN, FNP-BC, on the safety and efficacy of influenza vaccination and strategies to promote vaccination. This activity offers 0.75 hours of CE credit, 0.25 of which may be applied toward pharmacology.