On December 7, CVS Health decided to remind their customers about flu shots, that are still available at this moment at the company clinics. This decision was timed to the country marks National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 6-12).
“The flu shot is the most effective way to protect against the flu and is an important step individuals and families can take to help safeguard the overall health of the community and minimize the impact on health care resources, as the United States continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” – the company said.
“We have seen more patients than ever get their flu shot this season but know that there are still individuals that have not yet received their vaccination and are planning to,” said Jon Roberts, Chief Operating Officer, CVS Health. “CVS Health is prepared to administer 20 million flu shots this flu season, and we encourage everyone to make a plan to be immunized before the end of the year.”
Flu Shots Statistics
CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) conducts studies each year to determine how well the influenza (flu) vaccine protects against flu illness. While vaccine effectiveness (VE) can vary, recent studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to the flu vaccine. In general, current flu vaccines tend to work better against influenza B and influenza A(H1N1) viruses and offer lower protection against influenza A(H3N2) viruses.
During 2019-2020, CDC estimates there were 38 million flu illnesses, 18 million flu-associated medical visits, 400,000 flu hospitalizations and 22,000 flu-associated deaths. CDC also provided new estimates on the burden of flu averted by vaccination last season. CDC estimates that flu vaccination prevented 7.5 million flu illnesses, 3.7 million flu medical visits, 105,000 flu hospitalizations and 6,300 flu deaths. These estimates are based on vaccine effectiveness estimates from 2019-2020, as well as data on vaccine coverage during last flu season which were also released by CDC today.
National Influenza Vaccination Week
Flu shots are available at the nearly 10,000 CVS Pharmacy and approximately 1,100 MinuteClinic locations across the country. Both CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic, the retail health clinic of CVS Health inside selects CVS Pharmacy and Target stores.
“The effects of COVID-19 are unprecedented factors in this cold and flu season. Health care providers are busy meeting pandemic-related demands, and that’s likely to get worse as we head into the winter months so it’s important that we reduce the number of cold and flu cases and flu-related hospitalizations as much as possible to preserve our health care resources,” said Angela Patterson, DNP, FNP-BC, NEA-BC, FAANP, Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer, MinuteClinic.
For patients that do fall ill this season, CVS Health recommends talking with their health care provider as soon as symptoms develop. The company is currently managing more than 4,300 COVID-19 testing locations, up to 1,000 of which will provide rapid-result testing. Rapid-result testing also enables symptomatic patients who test negative for COVID-19 to access testing and care for influenza and other seasonal illnesses at MinuteClinic.
“This begins with getting your annual flu vaccination,” added Angela Patterson. “It’s also important to remember that the same things that can help slow the spread of COVID-19 washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, wearing a face covering and avoiding crowds are also important actions in reducing transmission of the flu.”