As summer winds down, it is a great time to review the CDC’s recommended vaccinations and vaccine schedules. August was National Immunization Awareness month. In case you missed it, you can learn more about vaccines and the CDC’s recommendations by visiting https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/.
As kids head back to school, the flu season kicks off. This season, vaccine manufacturers are projected to supply the U.S. with as many as 173.5 million to 183.5 million doses of flu vaccines.1
It is important to understand common flu signs and symptoms to help differentiate them from the common cold, allergies, and COVID-19:
Flu – Typically comes suddenly, and symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, aches, and tiredness.
Common cold – Gradual and generally involves a stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, and sometimes fatigue.
Allergies – May be similar to common cold symptoms but often involves watery eyes and typically does not involve sore throat or fatigue.
COVID-19 – Generally includes fever or chills, shortness of breath, aches, cough, and loss of smell or taste.2
Why Should I Get a Flu Vaccine This Year?
If you do not get a flu vaccine (or for that matter, any other vaccinations) for yourself, consider getting one for those who you may come in contact with and may be at high risk for complications (infants, elderly, those with chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems). While getting the flu vaccine is not guaranteed to prevent flu, the illness may be milder if you contract it. Flu vaccinations have shown benefits such as reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and even flu-related death in children. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.2
The CDC strongly advises that everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine, especially those at higher risk of developing flu-related complications.3
2021-2022 U.S. Flu Season Preliminary Burden Estimates
COVID-19 precautions such as wearing face masks, staying home, hand washing, and social distancing are believed to be the main explanations for the reduced flu activity in 2020-2021. The historically low numbers of flu in the 2020-2021 season made it challenging for the CDC to calculate the burden.
However, the CDC has provided preliminary burden estimates for October 1, 2021, through June 11, 2022:
8 to 13 million flu illnesses
3.7 to 6.1 million flu-related medical visits
82,000 to 170,000 hospitalizations
5,000 to 14,000 flu-related deaths4
Get Started with the CVS Health Vaccination Program
Getting a flu vaccine as well as many other vaccinations is safe, convenient, and typically cost-effective with CVS Health’s Broad Vaccination Network. Participants may access a range of vaccinations across the national network of retail pharmacies which includes major chains as well as independent pharmacies. Vaccination services accommodated (products, age ranges, appointments, or walk-ins) may vary by pharmacy so participants should check with their local pharmacy in advance. Coverage under the pharmacy benefit is easily added and is typically more cost-effective than the medical benefit. That’s why more than 80% of National CooperativeRx’s member-owner groups already have this in place. If you have any questions or would like to implement the CVS Health Vaccination Program, contact your National CooperativeRx account manager. And remember, don’t forget to wash your hands!