Up to 1 in 5 people in the United States get influenza every season (CDC, Key Facts). Each year an average of approximately 226,000 people in the US are hospitalized with complications from influenza and between 3,000 and 49,000 die from the disease and its complications (Thompson WW, 2003). Combined with pneumonia, influenza is the nation’s 8th leading cause of death (Heron, 2012). Up to two-thirds of all deaths attributable to pneumonia and influenza occur in the population of patients that have been hospitalized during flu season regardless of age (Fedson, 2000). The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends seasonal influenza vaccination for all persons 6 months of age and older to highlight the importance of preventing influenza. Vaccination is associated with reductions in influenza among all age groups (Kostova, 2013). The influenza vaccination is the most effective method for preventing influenza virus infection and its potentially severe complications. Screening and vaccination of inpatients is recommended, but hospitalization is an underutilized opportunity to provide vaccination to persons 6 months of age or older.
The flu season is defined as October 1 through March 31.[table “1” could not be loaded /]