When COVID-19 first became a widespread concern in the U.S., it wasn’t unusual to hear consoling murmurs along the lines of “Well, at least it’s not flu season.” Unfortunately, the persistent nature of the pandemic has reduced that to wishful thinking for a quick resolution. The term “twindemic” is now being bandied about. The one piece of good news is that the Food and Drug Administration has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for a combination test for the viruses that cause flu and COVID-19. So far it’s only available at CDC-supported public health labs, however. Regardless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting flu shots earlier than usual—now, essentially, in order to provide long-lasting protection as soon as possible. Start offering flu shots to all patients who do not have the rare contraindication to flu shots today, if you haven’t already. Emphasize that contracting both flu and COVID-19 simultaneously could have dire consequences. For insights on working with patients to prevent influenza infection in the urgent care center, specifically, read An Urgent Care Approach to Influenza—Before Onset in the JUCM archive.
With No Respite Between COVID-19 and Influenza, It’s Time to Start Banging the Flu Shot (and Testing) Drum