On Public Health Security - October 2016 - Fighting the Flu: CDC Prepares for the 2016-2017 Influenza Season



On Public Health Security
October 2016
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Stephen C. Redd

Dear Partners,

With flu season just around the corner, CDC Director Tom Frieden led by example when he got his flu shot at a press conference on September 29th.

The press conference, presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), officially kicked off our 2016-2017 seasonal influenza vaccination campaign. In addition, a CDC-led social media Thunderclap encouraged people to get vaccinated this season to fight flu. This message had 505 supporters and reached 6,670,200 people through multiple social media channels. The #FightFlu hashtag was included in more than 1500 tweets, generating nearly 23 million impressions. In your social media this fall, make sure to include the hashtag #FightFlu.

At the helm of CDC’s flu vaccination promotion efforts is the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). Here are a few things our office is doing to prepare for flu season in support of our colleagues in NCIRD:


In partnership with NCIRD, our office published a blog post: Protect Your Child This Season: Get a Flu Shot! stressing the importance of protecting your loved ones through immunization. The article outlines this season’s new guidelines concerning flu shots for children and puts a much needed spotlight on the dangers of flu. We encourage you to share the post and help your communities stay safe this fall.

Clinician Updates

CDC’s Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) hosts monthly calls where subject matter experts present key emergency preparedness and response topics, followed by Q&A. These calls offer the most up-to-date information and guidance for clinicians.

On Thursday, October 27th, we will partner with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to present “What’s New for the 2016-2017 Flu Season: Recommendations for Children,” where AAP and CDC experts will discuss this year’s vaccination recommendations. Information about this and other COCA calls, including the link to join in, can be found on our Clinician Resources page.

Preparation in the Event of Antiviral Drug Shortages

As flu season is just getting started, it’s not possible to predict how severe the season will be. However, we are preparing for a possible severe season during which shortages of influenza antiviral drugs might occur.

While the flu medicines held in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) are specifically earmarked for pandemic influenza, SNS supply chain experts are ready to lend their assistance with potential product shortages, as they have in previous seasons. For example, during the 2014/15 flu season, SNS staff activated a call center for long-term care facilities (LTCFs) to contact CDC for assistance with short-term, acute shortages of antiviral drugs used to prevent and treat influenza A and B. Through the antiviral call center, SNS staff communicated spot shortages to manufacturers, who then directed shipments to the LTCFs most in need. From Jan. 15 – Feb. 20, 2015, the call center helped facilitate the delivery of 3,370 courses of antiviral drugs to vulnerable populations needing treatment for seasonal influenza.

I’m happy to report that I got my flu shot last month. If you haven’t already, I hope you will get your shot too, as well as join us in preparing for this flu season with your own campaigns. We offer many free CDC flu resources to support your work. I encourage you to become a flu prevention partner to promote flu vaccination within your community and increase awareness about the importance and benefits of annual flu vaccination and prevention.


Thank you,

Stephen C. Redd, MD


Director, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 Upcoming Events

National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 4th-10th.

Join the American Public Health Association (APHA) and more than 12,000 public health professionals for their Annual Meeting 

October 29th-November 2nd in Denver, Colorado. This year’s theme is “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health.”

Attend the Emergency Preparedness & Hazmat Response Conference November 1st-4th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! Register here.

Flu Resources & Information

The Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for the 2016-17 flu season are highlighted in a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

CDC also recently released two MMWRs with new data from the 2015-2016 flu season—one MMWR on vaccination rates for the general population and another MMWR on vaccination rates for health care professionals.

The National Council on Aging campaign, Flu + You, provides PSAs, infographics, and fact sheets geared towards older adults.

CDC provides many preparedness resources for Pandemic Flu, as well as flu-related information for health professionals.

Follow @CDCFlu on Twitter for flu-related updates from CDC and share information in your own communities!

Zika Updates

 A recent CDC press release entitled “CDC working with Florida to respond to new active Zika transmission area in Miami-Dade County” includes recommendations resulting from the discovery of a new area of active Zika transmission in Miami-Dade County.

For the latest information about Zika, visit the CDC Zika Home Page.