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Public Health Issues - Essay Example

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Public Health Issue: Influenza Immunizations Date Influenza Immunizations Influenza Immunizations: An Overview The term ‘influenza’ is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses…
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Download file to see previous pages The CDC has recently announced that scheduled flu vaccines for the 2012 to 2013 season already include protection for three influenza virus strains: influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus (CDC, 2012). Significance to Public Health The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified that influenza could actually afflict all people from various age groups. However, those segments of the population who were identified to be at risk of complications are as follows: “children younger than age two, adults age 65 or older, and people of any age with certain medical conditions, such as chronic heart, lung, kidney, liver, blood or metabolic diseases (such as diabetes), or weakened immune systems” (WHO, 2009, par. 5). Also, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) has emphasized the need for health care personnel (HCP) to be vaccinated on a compulsory level. As noted, “health care personnel can spread the highly contagious influenza virus to patients in their care. In fact, unvaccinated workers can be a key cause of outbreaks in health care settings” (NFID, 2008, p. 2). In an article written by Sawyer, et al. (2012), it was disclosed that the public health advisory on the need for increased influenza immunization has been succesful in enjoining employers to promote the need for vaccination. However, the results of the study revealed that “population-based surveys of HCPs did not show significant increases in influenza vaccination. Overall, this study suggests that public health leadership, intensive employer promotion activities, and state-required declinations alone were not sufficient to significantly increase HCP influenza vaccination. Policymakers and employers should consider mandates to achieve optimal influenza vaccination among HCPs” (Sawyer, Peddecord, Wang, Deguire, Miskewitch-Dzulynsky, & Vuong: Abstract, 2012, par. 4). The relevance, therefore, of the issue to public health is paramount in terms of manifesting conformity to the call to action of these high risk populations to be immunized against influenza and therefore contribute to the prevention and spread of this illness. Past, Current, Future Statistics The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) in conjunction with other national health agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the CDC, and the National Immunization Survey (NIS) have monitored and surveyed the influenza vaccination coverage levels of various population groups. Among which, Table 3 of the report written by Fiore, et al. entitled “Prevention and Control of Influenza with Vaccines” provides past and current statistics (Fiore & al., 2010). As emphasized, “in the 2009--2010 vaccination season, 33% of seasonal influenza vaccinations occurred in health departments, pharmacies or drug stores, workplaces, schools, or other nonmedical locations (CDC, unpublished data, 2009). The proportion of 2009 H1N1 vaccine administered in these settings was 45% (CDC, unpublished data, 2010)” (Fiore, et al.: Other Settings, 2010, par. 1). Future directions indicate that “most severe morbidity and mortality during typical influenza seasons occurs among persons aged ?65 years of those who have chronic medical conditions. More immunogenic influenza vaccines are needed for persons at ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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