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CDC asks health workers for flu vaccinations
Gerberding addresses myths, risk to patients
Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has taken the unusual step of directly appealing to health care workers to get vaccinated for seasonal influenza.
"This year, don't get the flu, and don't spread the flu," Gerberding said in a letter to health care providers posted on a CDC flu web site. "Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your patients by getting a flu vaccine."
The appeal came as part of National Influenza Vaccination Week. With only 40% of heath care providers annually immunized for flu, Gerberding went so far as to call the historic apathy "unconscionable" at a recent press briefing at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) in Bethesda, MD. She was more diplomatic in the appeal to health care workers, reminding them that they should be vaccinated for the following well-established reasons:
Regarding the current vaccines, Gerberding noted that the "nasal spray" vaccine [live, attenuated influenza vaccine, (LAIV)] is an option for healthy children and adults aged 2-49 years old. LAIV can be used in health care workers, except for those in contact with severely immunosuppressed patients cared for in specialized patient-care areas, she noted. In addition, the injectable inactivated vaccine is safe and readily available for people aged six months and older, including pregnant women. Knowing that some persistent myths have undermined annual vaccination compliance by health care workers, Gerberding emphasized: