Troy Trygstad, PharmD, MBA, PhD: Looking Ahead to the 2018 Flu Season

AUGUST 12, 2018
Cecilia Pessoa Gingerich
Healthcare professionals in settings from hospitals to private clinics to local pharmacies are gearing up for the 2018 flu season. Each year the influenza season in the United States picks up in October and peaks from December to February, sometimes lasting as late as May according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Troy Trygstad, PharmD, MBA, PhD, spoke with MD Magazine ® about the upcoming flu season and emphasized how different clinicians and pieces of the healthcare system can play a role in promoting immunization. “[T]his really is an all for one, one for all kind of a space when it comes to vaccinations,” he said.

What are the vaccine options that physicians could offer their patients this flu season?

Well the manufacture of flu vaccinations continues to evolve, so there are more and more options every year. We’re starting to get quadrivalent now, high dose, we’re starting to segment against across populations. It’s not just as simple as “everybody needs to be vaccinated for the flu” and I think it’s a positive thing because we’re increasing the knowledge and effectiveness of these vaccines over time.

The next big challenge for us is getting beyond that 40% threshold of coverage. Most public health folks are really focused on increasing vaccination rates.

What are the flu vaccine options for different patient populations?

Certainly, children and the elderly are special populations. That high dose for the elderly seems to be important. In children we have scenarios where intramuscular is not so popular, and there are some newer products in the market now that are starting to handle it—the intradermal types of products are emerging as well. We’re starting to get a little bit better coverage of the strains, that will be upcoming as the manufacturers advance the production sophistication.

How can clinicians and pharmacists work together to promote immunization?

Absolutely, so, when it comes to physician, pharmacist, and nurse, and really all the of the health care team, this really is an all for one, one for all kind of a space when it comes to vaccinations. Because vaccinations by their definition—we’re not just inoculating the individuals being vaccinated, there’s the community aspect to it. We’re rooting for each other a lot. We want as many people vaccinated appropriately and safely and effectively as possible. So, I think awareness, awareness, awareness, awareness. Knowledge about the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations coming from not just physicians, not just academic papers, but really everybody on the healthcare team, including the local newspaper, EMS, everybody. That space of working together to make sure that vaccines are accessible, and that patients and populations know the importance of them is something that we can all work on.

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