Influenza has been cited to cause considerable morbidity and mortality in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) launched a program intended to create awareness about the Flu and thus reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with it. Seasonal influenza is a program run by the CDC to create awareness about influenza and curb its spread in the United States. This paper seeks to use the guide to community preventive services to determine the effectiveness of the CDC seasonal influenza program in preventing and providing timely information to the country in accurate and reliable ways.
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The CDC program on Seasonal Influenza creates awareness about the flu by: informing people through the media and internet on how the flu is identified, the symptoms, how it spreads, the periods when its contagious, the complications it can cause, those at high risk and how it can be prevented, specifically through vaccination. The CDC program also promotes vaccination efforts to curb the flu. To prevent the seasonal influenza the CDC has recommended that everyone aged six months and above to be vaccinated during the 2011 influenza season. Vaccination is the universally favored method that is used to reduce the incidence, morbidity and mortality associated with influenza.
The Seasonal influenza program was evaluated basically in regard to its ability to reduce morbidity and mortality of influenza, its ability to promote health behaviors its ability to increase awareness of the influenza immunization nationally, its ability to address the concerns surrounding vaccine safety and efficacy, and the program’s ability to engage primary care providers and public health officials in developing local initiatives to encourage and increase influenza vaccine uptake (Briss, Brownson, Fielding, & Zaza, 2004).
The CDC seasonal influenza program has been generally successful partly due to the widespread flu awareness that was created by the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. In that year the vaccines nearly ran out though the overall vaccination among different age groups remained low. Survey results indicate that approximately 35% of schools going children were vaccinated against the H1N1 virus while fewer than 10% received the vaccine for seasonal influenza. The coverage for the influenza vaccination program was determined using the data from surveys carried out by National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS), National Immunization Survey (NIS), Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and the National 2009 H1N1 Flu Survey (NHFS) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). The most recent survey was conducted by BRFSS in which the respondents were asked whether they had undertaken any flu vaccination in the past 12 months. The response rate was 54% for adults for the survey conducted between September 2010 and March 2011 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).
Cost effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccination
The CDC seasonal influenza program recommends vaccination for influenza, especially during the high contagious seasons. This analysis indicates that the single or two dose strategies that is recommended for different risk groups is cost effective (Community Preventive Services, 2011). This is due to the fact that the severity of the seasonal influenza increases during the high contagious seasons. Survey results indicate at elevated prevalence rates for influenza (30%) the single dose approach leads to cost savings while the two dose strategy remains cost effective (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).
Challenges and recommendations
The following challenges impede the CDC seasonal influenza program: The coverage among older children and those in the adolescent stage remains low. This implies that morbidity and mortality due to seasonal influenza remains high in this groups. This challenge can be tackled through the continued implementation of the existing strategies and formulation of new ones to increase the coverage among these age groups; the influenza causing virus also mutates every now and then and thus the vaccines need to be reproduced for every new strain. This problem can be tackled through regular surveillance to identify the new strains (Briss, Brownson, Fielding, & Zaza, 2004).
This paper sought to evaluate the effectiveness of the CDC seasonal influenza program. It has been established that the program has resulted in a marginal increase in the number of individuals being vaccinated against the flu and thus it has been effective in reducing morbidity and mobility associated with seasonal influenza in the United States.
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Briss, P., Brownson, R., Fielding, J., & Zaza, S. (2004). Developing and using the Guide to community Preventive Services: Lessons learned about evidence based public health. Annual Review Public Health , 25,281-302.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Seasonal Flu. Web.
Community Preventive Services. (2011). The Community Guide: What works to promote health. Web.