Immunize MA: Immunization Division News

Key Points:
• An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against flu and its potentially serious complications.
• CDC recommends everyone 6 months or older get a flu vaccine by the end of October.
• There also are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness.
National Influenza Activity:
According to this week’s FluView report, seasonal influenza activity in the United States remains low.

Below is a summary of the key influenza indicators for the week ending October 3, 2020:
Viral Surveillance - Clinical Lab: The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza at clinical laboratories is 0.21% this week.
Virus Characterization: Influenza virus characterization information will be updated weekly starting later this season.
Antiviral Resistance: Influenza virus antiviral resistance will be updated weekly starting later this season.
Outpatient Illness: 1.1% of visits to a health care provider were for ILI. ILI activity remains below the national baseline of 2. 6 but increased slightly from the previous week.
Outpatient Illness: ILINet Activity Map This week, 1 jurisdiction experienced low activity while the remaining jurisdictions experienced minimal activity.
Geographic Spread of Influenza: Because of the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, this system will suspend data collection for the 2020 21 influenza season.
Influenza-associated Hospitalizations: Hospitalization rates will be updated weekly starting later this season.
NCHS Mortality: 7.0 of deaths were attributed to pneumonia, influenza , or COVID 19 (P IC ). This is above the epidemic threshold of 5.6%. (NCHS:National Center for Health Statistics)
Influenza-associated Pediatric Deaths: No influenza associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2020 21 season have been reported to CDC 1 89 deaths occurring during the 201 9 20 season have
been reported.

Influenza Activity in Massachusetts
Figure 1 shows that for MMWR week 40, the percent of ILI visits is comparable to the two previous seasons in the same week. For more information, see CDC’s influenza surveillance website at

ILI Activity in Massachusetts by Region
Figure 4 shows the relative intensity of reported ILI activity in Massachusetts by region. Although regions may not all experience the same intensity of ILI at similar times, infections due to influenza can be found throughout Massachusetts during flu season. Figure 4 shows that all regions of Massachusetts are reporting minimal ILI activity.

For more information about flu, go to our Weekly Flu Reports.
Questions and Resources
MDPH Influenza Vaccine Guidelines and Tools. This webpage contains information about influenza vaccine and links to guidance about planning flu and other mass immunization campaigns, standing orders, screening forms, consent forms, and MDPH-specific vaccine management guidance.
This website helps professionals work with their patients and emphasizes the importance of your role in protecting the public against influenza each season. Your recommendation to your patients that they receive the influenza vaccine is critical and more effective in increasing acceptance of vaccination than any other influencing factor.
CDC Make a Strong Flu Vaccine Recommendation
Vaccine Ordering and Locating Clinics
A free, online service where users can search for locations that offer immunizations.
Providers Wishing to Order Flu Vaccine for Private Purchase:
The national Influenza Vaccine Availability Tracking System (IVATS) assists providers wishing to privately purchase flu vaccine. IVATS identifies available doses of influenza vaccine by formulation and distributor/vendor throughout the season. 
For questions about influenza please call the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Immunization Program at 617-983-6800 or your local board of health.  
MDPH Resources for Fall Vaccination Clinics

For questions about state-supplied influenza vaccine, please call the Vaccine Unit at 617-983-6828.

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