Flu Vaccine More Critical Than Ever

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Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the anticipated uptake of influenza (flu) during the fall season, a new ACC survey of cardiologists shows the majority believe a surge of both viruses could result in more patients needing intensive care than ever before. As such, most agree that the flu vaccine will be more critical this year than ever.

The survey, supported by Sanofi Pasteur, provides a snapshot of cardiologist perceptions surrounding the flu vaccine in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as identifies potential barriers and opportunities when it comes to ensuring patients get the vaccine.

The good news is that more than 60% of cardiologists frequently discuss the need to get a flu vaccine each flu season with their cardiovascular patients and most, especially those in hospitals and medical schools (72%), are recording flu vaccination status on their patients.

However, there is still room to grow, including raising awareness among clinicians about cardiovascular outcomes from differentiated influenza vaccines (e.g., flu shot, quadrivalent vaccine, high-dose vaccine, cell-based vaccine, live-attenuated vaccine, adjuvanted vaccine, recombinant vaccine, etc.).

More than half of cardiologists (51%) are worried equally about both influenza and COVID-19 impacting the health of their patients for the remainder of this year. Slightly less than half (44%) are more worried about COVID-19 compared with influenza for their patients.

Patient barriers are also a concern, with survey participants citing a dislike of shots and a lack of reminders among the primary reasons patients don't get the vaccine. Other patient factors include a belief that the vaccine has limited protection, is not effective, and/or doesn't work (36%), or that it's not needed because they don't get the flu (31%).

To address these barriers, more than 2 out of 3 cardiologists (68%) feel that updates should be made to guidelines to include flu vaccines in the management of heart disease. In addition, most note the importance of continued clinician and patient education around the benefits of flu vaccines in reducing risks in cardiovascular patients.

For more on the flu vaccine and heart disease, check out the ACC's new infographic on the link between the flu and CVD. Don't miss Cardiology's exclusive interview with Anthony S. Fauci, MD, on the flu season and COVID-19.

Also, check out the new CardioSmart.org for patient education resources. You can also help spread the word about the importance of the flu vaccine by sharing ACC's tools and resources. The National Foundation for Infectious Disease also has a number of shareable flu resources that can be found here.

Clinical Topics: Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathies, Acute Heart Failure

Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Magazine, Heart Failure, Myocarditis, Point-of-Care Systems, Quality of Life, Prevalence, African Americans, Cardiovascular Diseases, COVID-19, Goals, Standard of Care, Stroke Volume, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, Hispanic Americans


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