When is the end of the flu season?
Years of data from the CDC shows that flu season typically lasts until March, and in some seasons, until May. We don’t know if we have reached the peak of flu activity for this year or whether the flu season has just been delayed. CDC continues to encourage flu vaccination. It is not too late to vaccinate.
We know that someone can contract both the flu disease and COVID-19 disease at the same time. This would be very serious as this could cause severe illness in someone, leading to serious respiratory (breathing) problems, possibly hospitalization, or death. Likewise, if we have an increase in flu cases along with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may end up with a ‘twindemic’ – which would put additional stress on our healthcare systems trying to fight COVID-19. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death. Getting a flu vaccine protects you, your family and your community. Getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.
There are certain populations at increased risk for hospitalization and death from both influenza and COVID-19 diseases. They need both vaccines: the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine. However, it is not recommended to get both vaccines on the same day. The vaccines need to be spaced 2 weeks apart. COVID-19 vaccine is not available to many communities at this time. We should encourage higher-risk populations to get their flu vaccination now while waiting for their turn to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The higher risk populations include older adults, pregnant women, persons with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, sickle cell disease, etc.
Communities of color are also experiencing increased rates of hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 now due to various social determinants of health leading to an increased number of chronic medical conditions in communities of color. Flu vaccination should continue to be encouraged in these communities in addition to COVID-19 vaccination.
What are some strategies that can be done to reinvigorate the population since many are not seeking the flu vaccine?
Creative ways to encourage flu vaccination would be to pair up flu vaccination with other events , such as food collection events at food pantries. Also, consider offering incentives such as gift cards donated from local restaurants or bus/train passes. Incentives have been shown to increase vaccination rates.
AIM has a wealth of resources around increasing vaccine confidence and influenza in our resource library including:
This resource is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a Cooperative Agreement. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.