HHS Secretary Azar and top public health officials give flu activity update

HHS Secretary Azar and top public health officials give flu activity update


>>GOOD AFTERNOON. THANK YOU ALL FOR JOINING US HERE TODAY. I FIRST WANT TO SAY A WORD ABOUT YESTERDAY’S
HORRIFIC SHOOTING IN FLORIDA AND WHAT THIS ADMINISTRATION IS DOING ABOUT THESE ALL TOO
COMMON TRAGEDIES. I WANT TO EXPRESS MY SYMPATHIES AND PRAYERS
FOR EVERY VICTIM OF THE TRAGEDY AND THEIR FAMILIES. AS A FATHER OF TWO SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN, I
CAN SCARCELY IMAGINE THE PAIN AND GRIEF THAT THE COMMUNITY OF PARKLAND FEELS TODAY. I ECHO WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAID THIS MORNING
ABOUT THE COMMITMENT THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS TO ADDRESSING THE CHALLENGES OF SERIOUS MENTAL
ILLNESS IN AMERICA. WHILE MOST AMERICANS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS ARE
NOT VIOLENT, IN FACT THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE VICTIMS OF CRIMES THEMSELVES, WE KNOW
THAT UNTREATED SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS CAN BE ASSOCIATED WITH ACTS OF VIOLENCE LIKE WE
SAW YESTERDAY. THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
WILL BE LASER FOCUSED ON THIS ISSUE IN THE DAYS, WEEKS AND MONTHS TO COME, AND IT HAS
ALREADY BEEN A PRIORITY UNDER OUR ADMINISTRATION. THERE’S A GREAT DEAL THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
CAN DO TO INFORM AND ASSIST STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, COMMUNITIES AND FAMILIES IN GETTING
AMERICANS WITH SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS THE TREATMENT THEY NEED TO LEAD HEALTHY, HAPPY
LIVES. AS ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS MENTIONED THIS
MORNING TO A GROUP OF SHERIFFS, WE NEED TO BE WORKING BETTER WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT, TOO
OFTEN AMERICANS WITH UNTREATED SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS ENDS UP BEHIND BARS RATHER THAN GETTING
THE TREATMENT THEY NEED. ADDRESSING THESE ISSUES IS AN EXISTING PRIORITY
OF THIS ADMINISTRATION AND OF HHS, AND WE’RE GOING TO STEP UP OUR EFFORTS FURTHER. NOW I WANT TO MOVE ON TO THE TOPIC WE HAD
SCHEDULED TO DISCUSS HERE TODAY. THE SERIOUS THREAT THAT THIS YEAR’S FLU PRESENTS
TO OUR COUNTRY’S HEALTH AND NEWS WE JUST GOT FROM THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
ABOUT THIS YEAR’S FLU SEASON. THE FLU IS A SERIOUS ILLNESS THAT SENDS HUNDREDS
OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS TO THE HOSPITAL EACH YEAR. MOST OF US HAVE HEARD THAT THIS YEAR’S FLU
SEASON HAS BEEN ESPECIALLY SEVERE. OUR HEARTS GO OUT TO EVERY AMERICAN WHO IS
SUFFERING FROM THE FLU. AND THEIR FAMILIES SUPPORTING THEM. ESPECIALLY THOSE CARING FOR OLDER RELATIVES
AND YOUNG CHILDREN. THERE’S STILL TIME FOR EACH US TO CONTRIBUTE
TO FIGHTING THE FLU THIS YEAR. GETTING A FLU SHOT AS RECOMMENDED FOR EVERY
AMERICAN OVER SIX MONTHS OF AGE MAKES YOU LESS LIKELY TO GET THE FLU, AND LESS LIKELY
TO SPREAD IT TO THOSE WHO ARE MOST VULNERABLE, OUR CHILDREN AND SENIOR CITIZENS. LET ME GIVE YOU SOME CONTEXT ON HOW THE FLU
SHOT CAN HELP. ALL OF US KNOW THE RISKS THAT COME FROM LETTING,
FOR INSTANCE, OUR CHILDREN RIDE IN THE CAR WITHOUT BUCKLING THEIR SEAT BELT. GETTING THE FLU SHOT IS THE SAME KIND OF SENSIBLE
PRECAUTION AS BUCKLING YOUR SEAT BELT, AND THERE IS STILL TIME FOR THESE PROTECTIONS
TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. GIVEN THE SEVERITY OF THIS YEAR’S SEASON,
I SPOKE WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP ABOUT THE SITUATION YESTERDAY, WE’RE COMMITTED TO DOING EVERYTHING
WE CAN TO MAKE PEOPLE AWARE OF WHAT THEY CAN DO TO AVOID THE FLU AND WHAT THEY CAN DO ONCE
THEY HAVE IT. I’VE BEEN WORKING CLOSELY WITH AMERICA’S TOP
PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS HERE AT HHS TO MONITOR THIS ISSUE, AND TO CONTINUE GETTING THE WORD
OUT. WE’VE CONVENED SOME OF THOSE EXPERTS HERE
TODAY. THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION,
PART OF HHS, RELEASED NUMBERS TODAY ESTIMATING THAT THIS YEAR YOU’RE 36% LESS LIKELY TO GET
THE FLU AND SEE THE DOCTOR IF YOU GET A FLU SHOT. IF YOUR YOUNG CHILD GETS A FLU SHOT HE OR
SHE IS 59 PERCENT LESS LIKELY TO GET THE VIRUS AND HAVE TO GO TO THE DOCTOR. MOREOVER, IF YOU GOT THE FLU SHOT BUT DO END
UP CATCHING THE FLU, IT CAN BE LESS SEVERE AND LESS LIKELY TO LAND YOU IN THE HOSPITAL. IMAGINE IF YOU COULD CUT YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING
IN A CAR CRASH BY 36%, OR CUT CHANCES OF YOUR CHILD BEING IN A CRASH BY 59%. ON TOP OF THAT, HAVING THE SHOT IS LIKE INSURING
AHEAD OF TIME YOU HAVE YOUR SEAT BELT BUCKLED OR CHILD IN A CAR SEAT, GOING TO GET A FLU
SHOT AND GETTING SHOTS FOR YOUR YOUNG CHILDREN IS THE SAME KIND OF COMMON SENSE MEASURE,
IT HELPS PROTECT YOU, YOUR FAMILY, AND YOUR COMMUNITY. DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT, ACTING DIRECTOR OF CENTERS
FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, WHICH MONITORS THE FLU CLOSELY EVERY YEAR, IS NOW
GOING TO TALK TO YOU MORE ABOUT THE FINDINGS ON THIS YEAR’S FLU SEASON. YOU WILL HEAR FROM SURGEON GENERAL JEROME
ADAMS, AMERICA’S DOCTOR HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD OF THE FLU. ALSO ON HAND WITH US TODAY TO ANSWER QUESTIONS
ARE DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB OF FDA WHICH HELPS OVERSEE
DEVELOPMENT OF FLU SHOT, DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, HEAD OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE
FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, LEADING THE EFFORT TOWARD DEVELOPING UNIVERSAL FLU
VACCINE AND DR. ROBERT KADLEC OUR ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR
PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE WHICH INVEST IN DEVELOPING NEW FLU VACCINES. THESE EXPERTS ALL AGREE, GOING OUT TO GET
A FLU SHOT WILL HELP PROTECT YOU THIS FLU SEASON. I’VE GOTTEN THE FLU SHOT. MY WIFE HAS.
AND MY TWO CHILDREN HAVE. SO HAS PRESIDENT TRUMP. IN FACT I’M NOT LETTING ANYONE STAND BEHIND
THIS PODIUM TODAY WHO HAS NOT HAD A FLU SHOT. THERE’S STILL PLENTY OF TIME. GO GET A FLU SHOT. DO IT FOR YOURSELF, YOUR FAMILY, AND YOUR
COMMUNITY. NOW LET ME INTRODUCE DR. SCHUCHAT FOR A MORE IN-DEPTH BREIFING ON TODAY’S
NEW INFORMATION AND CURRENT FLU SITUATION. THANK YOU.>>GOOD AFTERNOON, AND THANK YOU, SECRETARY
AZAR. AS THE SECRETARY MENTIONED, THIS FLU SEASON
CONTINUES TO BE EXTREMELY CHALLENGING AND INTENSE WITH VERY HIGH LEVELS OF OFFICE VISITS
FOR FLU AND HOSPITALIZATION RATES. ALL INDICATIONS ARE THAT FLU ACTIVITY REMAINS
HIGH AND IS LIKELY TO CONTINUE FOR SEVERAL MORE WEEKS. WE KNOW THAT THERE HAVE BEEN MANY QUESTIONS
AND CONCERNS ABOUT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE FLU VACCINE THIS SEASON. TODAY WE HAVE NEW INFORMATION AVAILABLE THAT
ADDRESSES SOME OF THOSE QUESTIONS. BEFORE GETTING INTO THE VACCINE EFFECTIVENESS
SPECIFICS, I WANT TO PROVIDE A FEW MORE DETAILS ON OVERALL ACTIVITY THIS FLU SEASON. THE FIRST SLIDE SHOWS THAT NATIONWIDE LEVELS
OF INFLUENZA-LIKE ILLNESS, A MEASURE BASED ON THE OUTPATIENT VISITS AND EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT
VISITS, ARE CURRENTLY AROUND WHERE WE OBSERVED DURING THE PEAK OF THE H1N1 2009 PANDEMIC. IT DOESN’T MEAN WE’RE HAVING A PANDEMIC RIGHT
NOW, JUST THAT LEVELS OF INFLUENZA-LIKE ILLNESS ARE AROUND AS HIGH AS WHAT WE SAW IN 2009. WE ALSO KNOW THAT HOSPITALIZATION RATES ARE
SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER THAN WHAT WE’VE SEEN FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR SINCE OUR CURRENT TRACKING
SYSTEM BEGAN A DECADE AGO. ON THE NEXT SLIDE YOU CAN SEE THAT THIS SEASON
HAS BEEN PARTICULARLY HARD, IN THAT IT TENDS TO HIT EVERYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES AT
ONCE. WE OFTEN SEE DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY
LIGHT UP AT DIFFERENT TIMES, BUT FOR THE PAST FEW WEEKS THE ENTIRE COUNTRY HAS BEEN EXPERIENCING
INTENSE FLU. ANOTHER REASON THAT THIS SEASON HAS BEEN SO
CHALLENGING IS THAT INFLUENZA A H3N2 VIRUSES HAVE DOMINATED. THESE VIRUSES ARE OFTEN LINKED TO MORE SEVERE
ILLNESS. IN RECENT WEEKS WE STARTED TO SEE MORE FLU
VIRUS AND H1N1 VIRUSES CIRCULATING AS WELL. AS THE SECRETARY MENTIONED, IT’S BEEN A DIFFICULT
YEAR FOR CHILDREN. WE RECEIVED REPORTS FOR 63 CHILDREN HAVE DIED
OF FLU SO FAR THIS SEASON. THIS IS DEVASTATING NEWS, AND UNFORTUNATELY
WE’RE EXPECTING TO HAVE ADDITIONAL PEDIATRIC DEATHS IN THE NEAR FUTURE. THREE OUT OF FOUR CHILDREN WHO DIED FROM FLU
HAVE NOT GOTTEN THE FLU VACCINE. WE STRONGLY URGE PARENTS TO MAKE SURE KIDS
HAVE GOTTEN FLU VACCINES. NOW I WANT TO TURN TO RESULTS OF THE FLU VACCINE
EFFECTIVENESS STUDY. EACH SEASON, CDC COLLECTS DATA AT FIVE SITES
IN THE UNITED STATES. I WANT TO EMPHASIZE THIS IS A SNAPSHOT OF
OUR INTERIM RESULTS THROUGH FEBRUARY�3. BASED ON LABORATORY CONFIRMED INFLUENZA, IN
OVER 1700 CHILDREN AND ADULTS, A STUDY TOTALING MORE THAN 4500 PEOPLE, WE TODAY HAVE OUR INTERIM
ESTIMATES OF THE VACCINE’S EFFECTIVENESS. OUR ESTIMATES RELEASED TODAY SHOW THE U.S.
FLU VACCINE WAS 36% EFFECTIVE OVERALL AGAINST INFLUENZA A AND B.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? IT MEANS THAT A VACCINATED PERSON REDUCES
RISK OF GETTING SICK WITH THE FLU BY ABOUT 1/3. VACCINE EFFECTIVENESS AGAINST THE SEASON’S
DOMINANT STRAINS, H3N2 STRAIN, WAS LOWER, IT WAS ABOUT 25%. THE VACCINE EFFECTIVENESS WAS BETTER AGAINST
THE OTHER FLU VIRUSES THAT ARE CIRCULATING. IT PROVIDED 67% PROTECTION AGAINST H1N1, AND
42% PROTECTION AGAINST INFLUENZA B VIRUSES. WE HAVE OTHER POSITIVE RESULTS TODAY. THE VACCINE’S PERFORMANCE IN CHILDREN WAS
BETTER THAN WE WERE EXPECTING. THE VACCINE OFFERED AN ESTIMATED 51% PROTECTION
AGAINST H3N2, ALMOST TWICE THE PROTECTION WE SAW IN THE TOTAL. OVERALL THE VACCINE WAS 59% EFFECTIVE AGAINST
BOTH INFLUENZA A AND B, IN CHILDREN. AS THE SECRETARY DISCUSSED IN THE VERY HARD
SEASON FOR FAMILIES PARTICULARLY THOSE WHO HVE LOST CHILDREN, WE CONTINUE TO RECOMMEND
PARENTS GET THEIR KIDS VACCINATED EVEN THOUGH IT’S FAIRLY LATE IN THE SEASON. THIS SEASON’S VACCINE PERFORMED OVERALL ABOUT
AS WE EXPECTED BUT WE REALIZE THERE IS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT. WE WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR EFFECTIVENESS,
AND COLLECTIVELY WORK TO IMPROVE OUR FLU VACCINES. THE SURGEON GENERAL WILL SHARE INFORMATION
ABOUT PROTECTION EFFORTS. WE DO CONTINUE TO RECOMMEND GETTING THE VACCINE,
EVEN THIS LATE IN THE SEASON. BECAUSE SOME PROTECTION IS BETTER THAN NONE. AND THE SEASON MAY CONTINUE FOR SEVERAL MORE
WEEKS. ALSO FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE SICK WITH FLU OR PEOPLE
WHO ARE AT HIGH RISK OF COMPLICATIONS FROM FLU, SUCH AS CHILDREN, ELDERLY, PREGNANT WOMEN,
THOSE WITH HEART AND LUNG DISEASE, WE RECOMMEND THEY SEEK MEDICAL CARE PROMPT TREATMENT WITH
ANTI-VIRAL PREVENTING AN ILLNESS GETTING WORSE. IT COULD BE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MILD
ILLNESS AND HOSPITAL STAY OR WORSE THAN THAT. ALTHOUGH WE HAVE HAD SHORTAGES IN ANTI-VIRAL
MEDICINES WE’RE AWARE THE COMMERCIAL SUPPLY OF ANTI-VIRAL DRUGS IS ADEQUATE, AND CDC HAS
BEEN WORKING WITH THE COMMERCIAL SECTOR, SUPPLIERS, DISTRIBUTORS, INSURERS AND PHARMACIES TO SMOOTH
THINGS OUT. IT’S FRUSTRATING IF YOU HAD TO CALL AROUND
TO SEVERAL PHARMACIES TO GET THE ANTI-VIRALS, AND WE’RE WORKING TO MAKE IT EASIER. I KNOW IT’S BEEN A SCARY FLU SEASON. A HEARTBREAKING ONE FOR FAR TOO MANY AMERICANS. ALTHOUGH WE CAN’T PREDICT HOW MUCH LONGER
THIS SEASON WILL LAST, WE COULD BE LOOKING AT SEVERAL MORE WEEKS OF INTENSE ACTIVITY. AND WE WILL PROBABLY CONTINUE TO HEAR VERY
SAD STORIES WILL CHILDREN AND ADULTS CRITICALLY ILL OR DYING. FLU CONTINUES TO BE A PRIORITY FOR THE CDC,
WE’RE WORKING 24/7 TO PROTECT AMERICANS FROM IT. IN THE PRESENCE OF EVERYONE HERE TODAY IS
A TESTAMENT TO HOW COMMITTED WE ARE, WORKING TOGETHER TO PROTECT AMERICANS DURING THIS
CHALLENGING FLU SEASON.>>GOOD AFTERNOON. THANK YOU, ADMIRAL SCHUCHAT AND SECRETARY
AZAR AND THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE FOR THIS VERY IMPORTANT BRIEFING. AS SECRETARY AZAR MENTIONED, GIVEN THE SEVERITY
OF THIS YEAR’S FLU SEASON, WE’RE WORKING CLOSELY WITH PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS INCLUDING CENTERS
FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND STATE AND LOCAL HEALTH OFFICIALS TO MONITOR THE SITUATION AND TO
SHARE INFORMATION ON STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY FROM THE SPREAD OF THE FLU. GETTING THE FLU CAN BE A LOT WORSE THAN A
FEW DAYS AWAY FROM WORK OR FROM SCHOOL. IT CAN BE DANGEROUS TO YOU, AND TO OTHERS
AROUND YOU. EVERY YEAR MILLIONS OF PEOPLE NEEDLESSLY SUFFER
FROM THE FLU, AND THOUSANDS WILL BECOME HOSPITALIZED OR EVEN DIE AS A RESULT. IT’S HEARTBREAKING THERE’S STILL SO MANY PREVENTIBLE
FLU DEATHS THAT OCCUR EACH AND EVERY YEAR. THAT’S WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO TAKE THESE SIMPLE
STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF DURING FLU SEASON. NUMBER ONE, REMEMBER THE THREE Cs. CLEAN, COVER, AND CONTAIN. CLEAN YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY. ESPECIALLY BEFORE TOUCHING YOUR FACE OR EATING. COVER YOUR COUGH AND SNEEZE. USE YOUR ELBOW, OR A TISSUE, TO PREVENT YOUR
GERMS FROM GOING EVERYWHERE OR BEING TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER PERSON OR SURFACE, BEING YOUR HANDS
CONTAIN YOUR GERMS. IF YOU FEEL SICK, PLEASE STAY AT HOME AND
REST SO YOU CAN FEEL BETTER FASTER. IF YOU GO TO WORK OR SCHOOL SICK, YOU CAN
POTENTIALLY SPREAD GERMS TO YOURSELF OR TO OTHERS. NUMBER TWO, IF YOU FEEL SICK, CONTACT YOUR
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER SOONER RATHER THAN LATER. PARTICULARLY IF YOU HAVE WORSENING SYMPTOMS
OR YOU OR SOMEONE YOU LIVE WITH HAVE A HIGH RISK MEDICAL CONDITION AS ADMIRAL IDENTIFIED. COMMON FLU SYMTOMS INCLUDE SORE THROAT, COUGH,
FEVER, CHILLS, ACHES, AND TIREDNESS. YOUNGER PEOPLE MAY PRESENT ARE VOMITING AND
DIARRHEA. SYMPTOMS ARE BEST TREATED OUTSIDE OF THE EMERGENCY
DEPARTMENT. HOWEVER, YOU SHOULD GO TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT
IF YOU EXPERIENCE SEVERE SYMPTOMS INCLUDING HIGH FEVER, CONFUSION, DIFFICULTY BREATHING
AND RAPID HEART BEAT. IF YOU’RE NOT SURE IF YOU OR YOUR CHILD NEED
TO GO TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT, CONTACT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR GUIDANCE ABOUT
THE BEST NEXT STEPS. ALWAYS LISTEN TO THE ADVICE OF YOUR HEALTH
CARE PROFESSIONAL. IF YOU’RE PRESCRIBED ANTI-VIRAL DRUGS SUCH
AS TAMIFLU, IT’S IMPORTANT TO START THEM RIGHT AWAY FOR MAXIMUM EFFECTIVENESS. ANTI-VIRAL DRUGS CAN EASE SYMPTOMS AND REDUCE
DURATION OF SICKNESS, BUT REMEMBER TO STAY HYDRATED AND TO REST. MOST IMPORTANTLY, GET VACCINATED, VACCINATE
THOSE YOU LOVE. THE FLU VACCINATION IS SAFE. LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN. THE FLU VACCINATION IS SAFE. IT IS STILL YOUR BEST DEFENSE. AS SECRETARY AZAR STATED, EVEN THIS FAR INTO
THE FLU SEASON, IT IS STILL INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO GET VACCINATED. GETTING VACCINATED DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN’T
OR YOU WON’T GET SICK. BUT IT CAN REDUCE THE DURATION AND SEVERITY
OF ILLNESS AND LIMIT SPREAD TO OTHERS. YOU NEED TO GET VACCINATED EACH AND EVERY
YEAR, STRAINS CHANGE YEARLY, YOU AREN’T PROTECTED UNLESS YOU GET THE MOST RECENT VACCINE AVAILABLE. VACCINE EFFECTIVENESS CHANGES FROM YEAR TO
YEAR AS ADMIRAL SCHUCHAT DESCRIBED, NO MATTER THE YEAR SOME PROTECTION IS BETTER THAN NO
PROTECTION AT ALL. A RECENT STUDY IN THE FEBRUARY JOURNAL OF
PEDIATRICS REVIEWING FLU DEATHS REVEALED 3/4 OF CHILDREN WHO DIED FROM FLU ARE UNVACCINATED. 3/4 OF THOSE WHO DIED FROM FLU ARE UNVACCINATED. TO BE BLUNT, FLU SHOT COULD MEAN THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH FOR YOU, OR YOUR LOVED ONE. TALK TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY, MAKE SURE THEY
FOLLOW THESE STEPS AND ESPECIALLY GET VACCINATED. AS THE SECRETARY AZAR SAID, HE VACCINATED
HIS CHILDREN. I VACCINATED ALL THREE OF MY CHILDREN. IT’S IMPORTANT AND CAN SAVE A LIFE. REMEMBER, EVEN WHEN CAREFUL, THINGS THAT CAN
HAPPEN THAT ARE UNFORESEEN, SO IT’S ALWAYS BEST TO GET THE FLU VACCINE.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *