Promoting the Flu Vaccine

The flu season runs from October through April each year, and given the ongoing COVID pandemic, it’s more important than ever to emphasize the importance of getting the flu vaccine to your patients. Lessening the total burden of respiratory illnesses is vital to allow for protection of not only those who are at risk for severe illness, but also the healthcare system. Providers play a vital role in supplying patients with the information needed to protect themselves against the flu and in helping a patient decide to receive vaccinations.

The CDC continues to recommend that patients ages six months and older, including pregnant women, receive a flu vaccine every year, with rare exceptions. Flu vaccination provides important protection from influenza and its complications, with the CDC reporting that in 2019-2020 flu season alone, the flu vaccine prevented an estimated 7.5 million illnesses, 3.7 million medical visits, 105,000 hospitalizations and 6,300 influenza-related deaths in the United States.

While some people who get vaccinated may still develop influenza, vaccination may make their illness milder, as a 2017 study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases (CID) found, reporting that influenza vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized influenza patients.

This flu season, Harvard Pilgrim is supporting annual influenza immunization efforts by covering flu vaccines at retail pharmacies for a $0 cost share for commercial members age 3 years and older. For Medicare Advantage members, flu vaccines are covered at $0 cost share (billed under Part B) at retail pharmacies or in doctors’ offices.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website provides valuable information about vaccination, infection control, prevention, treatment, and diagnosis of seasonal influenza on the Information for Health Professionals and Influenza ACIP Vaccine Recommendations pages.

Publication Information

Audrey Kleinberg,
Director, Provider Relations & Communications

Annmarie Dadoly,

Joseph O’Riordan,

Kristin Edmonston,
Production Coordinator