WASHINGTON – To educate the public on vaccination safety and on the importance of getting an annual flu shot, MedStar Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) administered nearly 60 vaccines to participants and attendees of the 2019 National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) Influenza/Pneumococcal News Conference on Thursday, Sept. 26. The annual conference is a key opportunity for NFID to help the public prepare for the upcoming flu season by encouraging individuals throughout the U.S. over the age of six months to get a flu vaccine every single year.
“When it comes to protecting people from flu, our best preventive tool is an annual flu vaccine,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar, II, who also noted that despite the availability of vaccinations, vaccination rates among adults are “stuck” at around 45%. That means that more than half of adults in the U.S. are unprotected against the flu every year.
To encourage adults to get vaccinated and ensure their loved ones also receive vaccinations, Secretary Azar lead by example, receiving a live, on-air vaccination from a MedStar VNA nurse.
Other health officials who spoke during the conference included William B. Borden, MD, associate professor of medicine and health policy at George Washington University, Patricia N. Whitley-Williams, MD, NFID president-elect, and William Schaffner, NFID medical director. Dr. Borden also received a vaccination from MedStar VNA during the event.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), less than half of the country receives a flu vaccine annually, which leaves more than half of the U.S. population open to contracting and spreading influenza this year. Due to age and immune system weaknesses, young children and aging adults are most at risk. With MedStar VNA’s patient population being predominately senior citizens, MedStar VNA encourages its patients to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated.
“As part of the MedStar Health organization, we advocate and encourage influenza vaccination for our patients, community members, and even our own employees,” said Traci Anderson, RN, MedStar Visiting Nurse Association President. “We have required that employees receive vaccinations for a number of years because it’s an important part of our patient safety first culture. That said, we are honored to support NFID and CDC in this important national promotional effort.”
To learn more about MedStar VNA, visit MedStarVNA.org.
About MedStar Visiting Nurse Association
MedStar VNA provides home healthcare services for homebound, disabled and chronically ill patients in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. A nonprofit, Joint Commission-accredited organization, MedStar VNA treats patients through skilled nursing and physical, occupational and speech therapies. MedStar VNA is a proud member of the MedStar Health system. For more information about MedStar VNA, call 800-862-2166 or visit MedStarVNA.org.