ACIP revises guidelines for influenza vaccination

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has issued revised guidelines for vaccinating patients against influenza, reported Medscape Medical News.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has issued revised guidelines for vaccinating patients against influenza, reported Medscape Medical News.

The updated guidance suggests several significant changes to previous committee recommendations, including revisions to the tables of contraindications and precautions to vaccination; restructuring the report content to emphasize vaccine risk-benefit screening immediately after discussion of contraindications and vaccines; and establishing stricter criteria for selecting an appropriate storage unit for vaccines.

ACIP remained bullish on the benefits of using vaccine for the prevention and control of influenza. “Antiviral medications are effective for the prevention of influenza, and, when used for treatment, can reduce the duration and severity of illness,” said Anthony E. Fiore, MD, from the Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, and his colleagues. The ACIP report was published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

However, the authors concluded, the emergence of resistant strains to 1 or more of the 4 licensed antiviral agents (oseltamivir, zanamivir, amantadine, and rimantadine) has made prevention and treatment far more complicated in the last 5 years. Therefore, the authors stated, it is important to factor in information about surveillance data and resistance patterns when making decisions on which vaccine to use.

In addition, ACIP recommended that antiviral treatment begin as soon as possible in patients with suspected or confirmed severe, complicated or progressive influenza or in outpatients with age risk factors or underlying medical conditions.

The guidance was intended to help vaccination providers assess benefits and risks, recommend administration and storage practices, and understand the most effective strategies for ensuring vaccination coverage, according to CDC.