5 reasons the flu vaccine is more important than ever

Help keep yourself, your family and our community safe.


As fall approaches, we begin to see the signs of the upcoming flu season. Doctors send notices encouraging patients to schedule their flu vaccines and newspapers publish articles about the efficacy of the current vaccine every year. However, this year will be unlike any before because the 2020-21 flu season will coincide with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The combination of serious COVID-19 and influenza cases could be catastrophic. The flu vaccine is an excellent tool to avoid this if everyone who is able receives the vaccine.

Here are the top five reasons the flu vaccine is more important than ever:

1

The flu vaccine is effective.

Pandemic or not, every eligible person should receive the flu vaccine each year. Although the strains causing this season’s flu may not exactly match those in the vaccine, the protection the vaccine provides is effective because it can boost your immunity. If you are exposed to a strain in the vaccine you receive, the infection will be less severe or even negligible.

2

The flu and COVID-19 share similar symptoms.

Fever, dry cough, body aches, chills and fatigue are all common symptoms of both the flu and COVID-19, and there is a risk of inaccurate diagnosis. If a flu infection is mistaken for COVID-19, people may find themselves facing unnecessary, lengthy quarantine or not receiving appropriate flu treatment, such as antiviral medication.

3

The flu and COVID-19 are both highly contagious illnesses that affect the respiratory system.

Being infected by both viruses is possible. This means that the risk of having more severe symptoms of both flu and COVID-19 and serious complications — such as acute respiratory distress syndrome — caused by co-infection could be higher.

4

The combination of both illnesses in a community can overwhelm the health care system.

Testing resources for COVID-19 have been insufficient at times, and many of the same materials, equipment and laboratories are used to test for the flu, which could lead to increased testing challenges. What’s more, some hospitals, especially those in remote areas, have limited capacity and medical equipment, including ventilators. If they are faced with surges in both severe flu and COVID-19 cases, they may become overwhelmed.

5

Increased cases of flu and COVID-19 could lead to further shutdowns.

Communities across the country have experienced COVID-19 testing delays as well as inaccurate results. If cases of flu are mistaken for COVID-19, the data collected to determine whether schools and businesses can remain open may be affected, leading to further shutdowns.


Where to get your flu shot

Sharp Health Plan covers the flu shot under your preventive care benefits at no additional charge. Here’s what you can do to get vaccinated today:

Your primary care physician

If you have a regularly scheduled appointment, it’s a good idea to ask if you can receive your flu shot during your appointment. Otherwise, you can contact your primary care physician (PCP) to schedule a vaccination appointment. You can find your doctor’s contact information on your member ID card.

TIP: Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, flu clinic procedures may be different this year. For example, some flu-clinics may require appointments, and others may offer outdoor, drive-up vaccination locations that allow you to remain in your vehicle. Please visit your plan medical group’s website to learn more.

MinuteClinic

MinuteClinics® are medical clinics located inside select CVS Pharmacy® stores nationwide. Flu shots have a $0 convenience fee.

*Source: Sharp Health News


Health observances

Want to share other important preventive health care information with your employees? Find out more about pre-diabetes and the warning signs of breast cancer.


Related articles

Hand-washing 101

Clean hands are your top defense against coronavirus. But are you washing them correctly?

Does the flu make you more susceptible to COVID-19?

COVID-19 will still be around when the flu season begins. What are the risks of having both?