During the 2020-2021 influenza season, flu vaccines are more important than ever to protect patients and communities. Public health experts are concerned that the spread of another respiratory illness in addition to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could overburden the health care system. However, flu vaccines can flatten the curve of flu infection, protect essential workers, and conserve medical resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.
To promote flu vaccines, here are some important reminders for health centers to keep in mind:
- CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. However, vaccines should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.
- More than 124 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed so far this season.
- This season, flu vaccines are especially important for racial and ethnic minorities, seniors, people with disabilities, and people with underlying conditions. That’s because these individuals are at higher risk of being exposed to, or developing, serious flu and COVID-19.
To support efforts to increase flu vaccination rates, health centers and Health Center Program stakeholders are encouraged to leverage the CDC resources below:
- CDC Health Care Provider Fight Flu Toolkit — Provides tools to equip health care providers to make strong flu vaccine recommendations and facilitate productive conversations with patients. Includes fact sheets, slides, materials for patients, and more.
- Make a Strong Flu Vaccine Recommendation — Provides guidance for health care providers on how to make a strong flu vaccine recommendation and help their patients make informed decisions about vaccinations.
- CDC Vaccination Guidance During a Pandemic — Provides resources to guide vaccine planning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- CDC Digital Media Toolkit: 2020-21 Flu Season — Includes social media images and messages, videos, a vaccine finder, print-ready materials, and other resources to convey the importance of flu vaccinations. We encourage health centers to share these resources on their webpages and social media pages, as well as in physical settings.
- Recommendations for the 2020-21 Flu Season — The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends influenza vaccination of persons aged ≥6 months.