Flu Shots Are Necessary in the Age of COVID-19

Wayne Salverda  •   September 2, 2020

September marks the beginning of this year’s flu season. Retail pharmacies began receiving inventory for it in middle to late August. In today’s world, where every newspaper headline and media bit read the latest on the coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths, treatments, and potential vaccines, it’s easy to lose track of the importance of protecting yourself against influenza. It’s also important to understand and recognize the different symptoms of allergies, flu, and COVID-19. Allergies typically come with sneezing, watery eyes, and a stuffy nose. The flu comes with a fever, cough, aches, chills, and fatigue. Symptoms of COVID-19 often include fevers, shortness of breath, cough, aches and loss of smell or taste.1

Why Should I Get a Flu Shot This Year?

While getting the flu shot is not guaranteed to prevent the flu, the illness will be less serious if you do contract it. That reduces hospitalizations, which is critical in today’s climate when some hospitals have become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and lack the necessary resources to provide adequate care. Some health care facilities are still recovering from when the pandemic initially hit and are preparing for a second wave of the virus, which could make the impact of the upcoming flu season even more deadly.

2018-2019 Flu Season Statistics

35.5 million flu illnesses

16.5 million flu-related medical visits

490,600 hospitalizations

34,200 flu-related deaths2

Who Should Get the Flu Shot?

Everyone six months and older is strongly advised to get the flu shot, especially this year. In 2019, only 45 percent of Americans received the vaccination3, a figure that may go up this season due to the current pandemic. With more than 185,000 Americans4 having succumbed to COVID-19 since the first US death reported in February, it’s not easy to dismiss the threat of the virus, which should motivate people to help lessen the strain on health care systems.

Get Started with the CVS Health Total Vaccination Program

Getting a flu shot is safe, convenient, and typically cost-effective with the CVS Health Total Vaccination Program. Members can access a range of vaccinations across the national network of retail pharmacies, or exclusively use CVS Pharmacy locations for even higher cost savings. Coverage for your participants under the pharmacy benefit is easily added and is more cost-effective than the medical benefit. If you have any questions or would like to implement the CVS Health Total Vaccination Program, contact your National CooperativeRx account manager. And remember, always wash your hands!


  1. https://www.rocketcitynow.com/article/news/health/covid-19-flu-or-allergies-how-you-can-spot-the-differences/51-0b658241-aa8e-4846-bd86-dbacad439492
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2018-2019.html
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/fluvaxview/coverage-1819estimates.htm
  4. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html