American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Clinical Updates

Remember to Get Your Flu Vaccine and Guide Patients Toward Their Own—and Continue to Talk Up the COVID-19 Vaccine

The 2020–2021 flu season was a mild one, likely in part due to the fact that precautions being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also are effective against the spread of flu. But experts predict that the previous mild season may lead to a much stronger flu season in 2021–2022 due to a lack of exposure and immunity. It is critical that surgeons and health care workers get their flu vaccine to help prevent a difficult flu season on top of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as guide patients toward getting their own vaccinations.

With the availability of COVID-19 vaccine this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its influenza frequently asked questions page to clarify that current evidence suggests that it is safe to get the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.

Talk It Up!

Do you want to know more about how to approach a potentially difficult conversation with patients about the COVID-19 vaccine? Visit the ACS Talk It Up campaign website to view a guide to conversation that might spark some ideas. Also make sure to share short video PSAs from ACS and surgeon leaders on the importance of communicating with patients, including the most recent video from Amy Liepert, MD, FACS, medical director, acute care surgery, and associate professor of surgery, University of California San Diego Health.

CDC Publishes Article Comparing Effectiveness of Pfizer-Biontic, Moderna, Janssen COVID-19 Vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on September 17 published an article in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report comparing the effectiveness of the three authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S.—Pfizer-Biontic, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)—in a period from March 2021 to August 2021. Specifically examining vaccine effectiveness in preventing hospitalizations in non-immunocompromised adults, researchers found that the Moderna vaccine was the most effective (93 percent), followed closely by Pfizer-Biontic (88 percent). The Janssen vaccine was 71 percent effective.

Though the rates show some variance, these findings add further evidence that all COVID-19 vaccines "provide substantial protection against COVID-19 hospitalization."

Read the full CDC report.

A National Institute of Surgery? Commentary Examines the Need to Reform Funding of Surgical Research

Surgical disease places a heavy burden on the public and health care systems around the world, including in the U.S. However, despite the acknowledged need to continue developing research in the field, in the U.S. the National Institutes of Health (NIH) only provides a small percentage of important R01 funding to surgical research. In a commentary on Stat, ACS Fellow Mark G. Shrime, MD, MPH, PhD, FACS, discusses his own experience and the experience of surgeon colleagues in being unable to secure NIH funding for surgical and global health research, and suggests the creation of a National Institute of Surgery to dedicate funds for this crucial area of public and global health.

Read "NIH needs to create a National Institute of Surgery" in Stat.