Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: 2020-2021 Influenza Season

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2020–21 Influenza Season “updates the 2019–20 recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) regarding the use of seasonal influenza vaccines in the United States (MMWR Recomm Rep 2019;68[No. RR-3]). Routine annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged ≥6 months who do not have contraindications. For each recipient, a licensed and age-appropriate vaccine should be used. Inactivated influenza vaccines (IIVs), recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV4), and live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV4) are expected to be available. Most influenza vaccines available for the 2020–21 season will be quadrivalent, with the exception of MF59-adjuvanted IIV, which is expected to be available in both quadrivalent and trivalent formulations.”

This report is dated August 21, 2020.

The Summary goes on with (bolding added by me):

“Updates to the recommendations described in this report reflect discussions during public meetings of ACIP held on October 23, 2019; February 26, 2020; and June 24, 2020. Primary updates to this report include the following two items. First, the composition of 2020–21 U.S. influenza vaccines includes updates to the influenza A(H1N1) pdm09, influenza A(H3N2), and influenza B/Victoria lineage components. Second, recent licensures of two new influenza vaccines, Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent and Fluad Quadrivalent, are discussed. Both new vaccines are licensed for persons aged ≥65 years. Additional changes include updated discussion of contraindications and precautions to influenza vaccination and the accompanying Table, updated discussion concerning use of LAIV4 in the setting of influenza antiviral medication use, and updated recommendations concerning vaccination of persons with egg allergy who receive either cell culture–based IIV4 (ccIIV4) or RIV4.

The 2020–21 influenza season will coincide with the continued or recurrent circulation of SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus associated with coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]). Influenza vaccination of persons aged ≥6 months to reduce prevalence of illness caused by influenza will reduce symptoms that might be confused with those of COVID-19. Prevention of and reduction in the severity of influenza illness and reduction of outpatient illnesses, hospitalizations, and intensive care unit admissions through influenza vaccination also could alleviate stress on the U.S. health care system. Guidance for vaccine planning during the pandemic is available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pandemic-guidance/index.html.

This report focuses on recommendations for the use of vaccines for the prevention and control of seasonal influenza during the 2020–21 season in the United States. A brief summary of the recommendations and a link to the most recent Background Document containing additional information are available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/vacc-specific/flu.html.   These recommendations apply to U.S.-licensed influenza vaccines used within Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–licensed indications. Updates and other information are available from CDC’s influenza website (https://www.cdc.gov/flu). Vaccination and health care providers should check this site periodically for additional information.”

Continue on the report website to learn more about:

  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Primary Changes and Updates in the Recommendations
  • Recommendations for the Use of Influenza Vaccines, 2020–21
    • Groups
    • Timing of Vaccination
  • Guidance for Use in Specific Populations and Situations
    • Populations at Higher Risk for Medical Complications Attributable to Severe Influenza
    • Persons Who Live with or Care for Persons at Higher Risk for Influenza-Related Complications
    • Influenza Vaccination of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection (COVID-19)
    • Children Aged 6 Months through 8 Years
    • Pregnant Women
    • Older Adults
    • Immunocompromised Persons
    • Persons with a History of Guillain-Barré Syndrome After Influenza Vaccination
    • Persons with a History of Egg Allergy
    • Vaccination Issues for Travelers
    • Use of Influenza Antiviral Medications
    • Administration of Influenza Vaccines with Other Vaccines
  • Influenza Vaccine Composition and Available Vaccines
  • Vaccines Available for the 2020–21 Season
  • Dosage, Administration, Contraindications, and Precautions
  • Storage and Handling of Influenza Vaccines
  • And more…

If you haven’t read my Cue the Theme Music from “Jaws” … Flu Season is Right Around the Corner blog yet, I encourage you to do so.  Re-read it if you have and share it with your colleagues.  We have a lot of work ahead of us during the upcoming months!