Influenza sickens millions of Americans each year. During the 2017-2018 flu season, 49 million people caught the virus. Hundreds of thousands of them were hospitalized and, per the CDC, more than 79,000 died. Five flu related deaths have already been reported for the 2018–2019 influenza season. Flu season is in full swing across the country, and there have been hundreds of reported hospitalizations.
It is not too late to encourage patients to get a flu shot. Prevention is the best way to further eradicate flu related illness, hospitalization, and death. It is important to help your patients understand that getting vaccinated isn’t just about protecting themselves. There are many people who are unable to get a flu shot due to age or health complications and unvaccinated people could be putting them at risk.
As a provider it is your responsibility to properly store and handle influenza vaccinations to ensure their potency and efficacy. Proper vaccine storage plays a major role in preventing influenza related hospitalizations and death. If flu vaccines are stored incorrectly, this can result in an inadequate immune response in patients leading to poor protection against the flu. These issues can cause patients to lose confidence in vaccines and providers. Moreover, many providers have suffered significant financial loss due to wasted vaccines.
Here are five tips that align with the CDC vaccine storage and handling tool kit to help you keep your influenza vaccine stored appropriately this 2018–2019 flu season.
- Read the CDC Vaccine Storage & Handling Toolkit
- Use continuous temperature monitoring on ALL your vaccine units
- Utilize alarms & notifications
- Store your vaccines in medical-grade refrigerators and freezers
- Have a plan and be prepared for temperature excursions
Proper, storage, monitoring, and staff training will help to ensure your influenza vaccines are stored and handled in accordance with CDC guidelines and ensure your patients are receiving effective influenza vaccinations. For more information on properly storing your influenza vaccine, watch our recorded webinar at the link below.