It'll be all hands on deck for flu vaccines in 2021-2022...as COVID-19 continues and experts warn of a possible severe flu season.
One concern is that the low number of influenza cases last season may lessen immunity...and lead to increased severity this year.
Vaccinate now...and continue as long as flu is circulating.
Keep in mind, flu vaccines should be offered from October to March to meet this immunization quality measure.
All flu vaccines will be quadrivalent this season...with two updated A strains and the same two B strains as last year.
Use your age-appropriate formulary option. Encourage patients to get vaccinated before discharge...and not to wait for a specific flu vaccine. There's no preference for one over another.
Compare products in our chart, Flu Vaccines for 2021-22.
Also reassure patients that it's okay to get vaccinated during hospitalization...including those admitted with the flu or COVID-19.
Be ready to answer questions about flu vaccine effectiveness.
Patients will hear that flu vaccines are only 40% to 60% effective...versus about 90% for mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
But point out that these comparisons aren't apples to apples.
This is partly because each flu season is different...and we're still learning about COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness over time.
Remind patients of the big picture...COVID-19 and flu vaccines significantly reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Emphasize getting BOTH vaccinations to protect against each virus.
Co-administer flu vaccines with other vaccines if needed...including COVID-19 vaccines.
Get our FAQ, Flu Vaccination, for answers about immunizing patients who are pregnant, feel sick, report an egg allergy, etc.
- MMWR Recomm Rep 2021;70(5):1-28
- www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2021-2022.htm (9-29-21)
- www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/vaccineeffect.htm (9-29-21)
- JAMA 2021;326(10):899-900