Thank you to our speaker and participants for joining last week’s webinar: Back to School: Navigating return to school and work amid COVID-19 and Flu Season. Dr. L.J. Tan from the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) discussed the upcoming flu season; how to avoid a “twindemic;” and the importance of COVID-19, flu, and other routine vaccinations.
Last year’s flu season was mild compared to previous years due to mask wearing, social distancing, more infection control, and potentially increased vaccination rates. With mask wearing and social distancing limited this flu season, vaccination against the flu this year is vitally important, especially among older adults, individuals with underlying health conditions, and pregnant women. In a study covering the 2005-2006, 2006-2007, and 2007-2008 influenza seasons, more than 80 percent of adults hospitalized with lab-confirmed influenza had 1 or more underlying medical condition; half had 2 or more conditions.
Healthy People 2030 Influenza, a public health initiative, is focused on having 70 percent of the population vaccinated against the flu. The U.S. coverage rates still fall below this target. Routine immunization rates among adults are also low, and the burden of preventable diseases such as pertussis, hepatitis, and measles still exists. Healthcare providers, including primary care and pediatric physicians, remain the most trusted messenger in vaccination efforts.
ACIP recommendations for the 2021-2022 influenza season include:
- All persons 6 months or older should receive influenza immunization.
- Influenza vaccination should not be delayed to procure a specific vaccine preparation if an appropriate one is already available.
- Optimal vaccination means getting vaccinated by the end of October.
- Certain persons should be vaccinated earlier rather than later, including children ages 2-8, those who require 2 doses, and women in their third trimester of pregnancy.
- Vaccination should be offered as long as influenza viruses are circulating and unexpired vaccine is available.
- Vaccine administered in December or later, even if influenza activity has already begun, is likely to be beneficial in the majority of influenza seasons.
Current CDC guidance indicates COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines, including influenza, may be co-administered without regard to timing.
OTHER BLOGS YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN...
- How to Get Ready for Flu Season
- 5 Tips for Ensuring Vaccine Storage Safety
- Looking Ahead to the 2021-2022 Flu Season and Back to School Immunization
- New COVID-19 Vaccine Storage Capacity Tool Available
To learn more about the upcoming flu season and the importance of routine vaccinations, you can view the recorded webinar and get the presentation deck.