Influenza Vaccine Update: March 2016

We are beginning to see more flu disease in Washington. It’s important for providers to keep vaccinating children (and adults) throughout the flu season to protect them from the flu.  This message includes information about the flu vaccine supply, resources for providers and information about antiviral medications.
Childhood Flu Vaccine Supply and Use
Keep vaccinating patients throughout the flu season. We have plenty of childhood flu vaccine available. Because of the delayed availability of FluMist this season, the multidose vial and .5mL injectable flu vaccine must be reserved for patients who cannot tolerate FluMist.
  • Providers may order as much .25mL pediatric Fluzone vaccine as needed for children less than 3 years old.
  • Providers may order as much FluMist vaccine as needed for children 3 through 18 years of age.
  • Providers should determine the vaccine need for patients who cannot tolerate FluMist. Work with your LHJ to determine your order.
    • Providers may use either 5mL multidose vial flu vaccine or .5mL single dose vaccine to meet only the needs of patients 3 and older who cannot tolerate FluMist.
Provider Tools for Using FluMist
We’ve included resources with information to help providers use FluMist for their patients 3 and older. The information is also in the prescribing information.
Flu Vaccine Supply for Adults
There are no supply issues related to flu vaccine availability for adults. If providers need additional flu vaccine for adults, they can check with their manufacturer or distributor. They may also check this website: Adult patients may find vaccine by using the Flu Vaccine Finder tool at the Flu.Gov website.
Antiviral Medication Supply and Use
Manufacturers say they have enough antiviral drugs to meet the demand for the 2015-2016 flu season. Providers or patients may want to call the pharmacy in advance to see if they have it in stock. If the pharmacy doesn’t have it, they may identify another pharmacy in the area that does.
  • Antiviral drugs are indicated for any patient with suspected or confirmed influenza who is hospitalized, has severe, complicated or progressive illness, or is at higher risk for influenza complications. They work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick. However, starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high risk health condition or is very sick from the flu.
  • Decisions about starting antiviral treatment should not wait for laboratory confirmation of influenza. According to CDC, clinicians should be aware that a negative result on the rapid influenza diagnostic test (RIDT) does not exclude a diagnosis of influenza in a patient with suspected influenza.
  •  Antiviral drugs can make flu symptoms easier to handle and can shorten the time patients are sick by 1 or 2 days. They also can prevent serious complications from flu, like pneumonia.
For more information about antivirals see: