FAQ’s Regarding Influenza

• Q: Availability of Antivirals and Vaccine in Retail pharmacies
o Current demand is increasing but suppliers are meeting demands. Health Departments may want to reach out to non-affiliated pharmacies to determine local availability.

• Q: How long does a flu vaccine protect an individual from getting the flu?
o Yearly vaccination provides the best protection again the flu throughout flu season. It is important to get a flu vaccine every flu season.

• Q: Can the flu vaccine provide protection even if the flu vaccine is not a “good” match?
o Yes, antibodies made in response to vaccination with one flu virus can sometimes provide protection against different, but related flu viruses. Even if you do get the flu after getting vaccinated, a yearly flu vaccine helps in protecting against serious complications such as hospitalization and death.

• Q: Some news reports have claimed the flu vaccine is expected to be only 10% effective this year, is this true?
o The 10% vaccine effectiveness (VE) figure reported in the news is an Australian interim estimate of vaccine’s benefit against one flu virus (H3N2) that circulated in Australia during its most recent flu season. The VE estimates for the United States are conducted by the CDC and have not been completed yet.

• Q: A Client has been denied access or required to have pre-authorization to obtain Antiviral medication. What can I do?
o Members of Florida Medicaid Managed care plans should file a complaint with Florida Medicaid.

• Q: A client cannot afford to vaccination, what are the options?
o Under or uninsured individuals can obtain at little or no cost flu vaccination at their local county health department.
o Federally Qualified Health Centers

• Q: A client cannot afford antiviral medication, what are the options?
o Instructions for CHD’s to request Antiviral medication can be found in the Public Antiviral Stockpile program concept of operations dated January 17, 2018

• Q: Is the Department recommending school closures?
o Health departments should engage with their educational partners to provide current CDC guidance and current situational awareness.
o https://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/index.htm.

• Q: Is the Department providing recommendations for mass gatherings?
o Individuals in High Risk populations should consider delaying or avoiding mass gatherings.  High risk populations include:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old.
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People who have medical conditions including (but not limited to):
  • Asthma
  • Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions (including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, stroke, moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury)
    • Chronic lung disease
    • Heart Disease
    • Blood disorders
    • Kidney disorders
    • Liver disorders
    • Metabolic disorders
    • Weakened immune system due to disease or medication
    • People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
    • People with extreme obesity(body mass index[BMI] of 40 or more
  • Individuals who are sick, should avoid mass gatherings until they are fever free for a minimum of 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.