We are five months into the COVID-19 Pandemic. Most of us have settled into some sort of routine, and are adjusting to a new way of life. Now, according to the August 17 edition of Pharmacy Today, “The prospect of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases colliding with a severe influenza season is stoking fear of a “twindemic” that could prove disastrous for people infected with both respiratory viruses and challenging for an already strained health care system.”

Public Health Officials are very concerned that the upcoming flu season could overwhelm hospitals already struggling to keep up with COVID infections. Therefore, there is a very large movement already started to get as many people vaccinated as possible. Early planning efforts are needed to address the additional complexieties that are associated with vaccine delivery during a pandemic. The CDC reported that drugmakers including AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi are making approximately 200 million influenza vaccine doses this year for shipment to doctors, hospitals and pharmacies, up 13% from last year. Pharmacy Today reported that public health officials are emphasizing the importance of influenza vaccination ahead of the upcoming cycle. From now through October 31, targeted publicity campaigns will flood social media, billboards, television and radio. Pharmacies and supermarkets will also do their part to promote immunization.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated against influenza annually. This year, they have especially emphasized all essential workers (health care personnel, including nursing home, long-term care facility staff, pharmacy staff and other critical infrastructure workforce) be vaccinated. Also, people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and people who are at high risk for influenza complications, including infants and young children, pregnant women, and adults over the age of 65 should be vaccinated.

At Guardian Pharmacy Atlanta, we have been planning for this flu season for several months. We are making huge efforts to get long-term care facility staff vaccinated, as well as thier residents. Please join us as we join the fight against flu and help avoid the possibility of rampant flu and COVID-19 overwhelming our health care system. Sign up for a flu clinic and educate all of your residents, staff and families about the importance of getting a flu vaccine. If you have other questions, please contact Lori Newcomb, RPh, BCGP, lead clinical pharmacist at Guardian Pharmacy Atlanta at 770-635-3301.

Pharmacy Today is an official publication of the American Pharmacists Association.