CALVERTON, MD (October 4, 2016) – On Thursday, Sept. 29, MedStar Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) participated in the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) annual press conference by offering flu vaccinations to those in attendance. Each year, NFID holds a press conference in collaboration with health officials, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., and Medical Director of NFID and professor of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, William Schaffner, M.D., to urge Americans to get vaccinated against influenza (flu). At Thursday’s event, health officials reported concern over the decreasing vaccination rate among adults 50 years and older.
While the CDC recommends that everyone get vaccinated, Dr. Schaffner addressed the concerning drop in flu vaccination among older adults. “Adults age 65 years and older are disproportionally affected by flu,” says Dr. Schaffner. “During the severe 2014-2015 season, more than three-quarters of the nearly one million people hospitalized due to influenza were age 65 years and older. Vaccination not only reduces the chance that older adults will get the flu, it can help keep them out of the hospital by reducing the severity of the infection and related complications if they do get the flu.”
Since MedStar VNA’s patient population is predominantly senior citizens, the decreasing rate of flu vaccination causes concern. “As we age, our immune systems weaken. We are more prone to infection and disease, and as a result, at an even higher risk for developing severe flu symptoms and complications, explain Ashley McFarland, director of Immunization and Wellness at MedStar VNA, which vaccinates over 9,000 community members each year. “Thankfully, adults have vaccination options, like high dose, specifically designed to give their age population the extra boost of protection they need.”
To learn more about influenza and vaccination recommendations, please visit the CDC website: www.cdc.gov.
About MedStar Visiting Nurse Association
MedStar VNA, a non-profit, JCAHO accredited, in-home healthcare provider, offers skilled nursing, rehabilitation and infusion therapy for homebound, disabled and chronically ill patients in the Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia region. To support good health in the community, MedStar VNA offers traveling vaccination and wellness programs across the region. For more information about MedStar VNA, call 800-862-2166 or visit medstarvna.org.
Carrie E. Koenig, Vice President, Patient Experience & Communication