On December 9, Walgreens announced about launching Walgreens Flu Index for the 2020-2021 season to help communities track flu activity in their area and serve as a reminder to get vaccinated against the flu, just in time for National Influenza Vaccination Week December 6 – December 12.
Health experts afraid of ‘twindemic’ as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, and that’s why they are encouraging flu shots to prevent the spread of two respiratory illnesses circulating at the same time and hospitals reaching capacity.
“It’s important everyone remain vigilant in getting vaccinated against the flu to reduce the burden on our already strained healthcare system during the pandemic,” said Kevin Ban, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Walgreens. “Even once COVID-19 vaccines are approved, it takes time for them to reach the general population. Flu shots are available today at local Walgreens pharmacies nationwide and something everyone can do to protect their health, and the health of their loved ones.”
National Influenza Vaccination Week
National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), an annual observance to remind everyone that there’s still time to get your flu vaccine if you haven’t already. Flu activity is still low, but it may increase as we head into the winter.
“There are more doses of flu vaccine available this season than ever before. For the 2020-2021 season, manufacturers have as already distributed 197.4 million doses of flu vaccine. Because of the record number of doses produced and distributed, administration is occurring over a longer period. As the final doses of flu vaccine come into market, it’s important that those doses are administered so that we are protecting as many people as possible against flu this season,” – CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) said
As of December 4, 2020, the United States had performed the second most COVID-19 tests per one million populations among the countries most severely impacted by the pandemic. The U.S. has conducted over 201 million COVID-19 tests in total.
At now the number of daily coronavirus tests being conducted in the United States is 52 percent of the level considered necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus, as many states struggle to increase testing. An average of 1 193 000 tests per day were performed over the past week, according to data collected by the Covid Tracking Project, well below the current nationwide target of 2.3 million daily tests.
The Walgreens Flu Index
The Walgreens Flu Index is an online, interactive tool that ranks the top markets and states for flu activity in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, as well as the top markets and states showing the largest increases in flu activity week-over-week.
The Walgreens Flu Index shows that in the month of November, overall flu activity was low nationwide compared to a normal flu season. Several Texan communities topped the list, with southern markets showing the most widespread flu activity both this flu season and in the 2019-2020 flu season. Many of the same states topped the list during the month of November for both the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 flu seasons.
Top 10 States with Flu Activity for the Month of November
- New Mexico
- New Jersey
“The unprecedented demand we’ve seen for flu shots this season, along with safety precautions everyone is taking to limit the spread of COVID-19, such as social distancing, wearing facemasks and frequently washing their hands, may be contributing to lower flu activity this season,” added Kevin Ban.