ACP urges influenza vaccination

As National Influenza Vaccination Week approaches, it’s time for all adults to get a flu shot.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) is asking all U.S. adults to get their influenza vaccination as National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 6-12) approaches.

According to a news release, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established the weeklong commemoration in 2005 as a reminder that flu season lasts not only through the holidays but on into February or beyond.

Due to this year’s flu season bumping against the sharp increase in COVID-19 infections across the country, the ACP is urging all adults to get vaccinated as the combination of the two diseases could cause havoc for patients, healthcare systems, and will add strain to already stressed frontline workers, the release says.

The flu vaccine not only helps to protect against the disease, but also helps to reduce the severity of the flu. Patients with chronic conditions are at high risk for severe flu and COVID infection, and the flu can exacerbate a patients underlying chronic conditions which can cause increased hospitalizations or even death, according to the release.

“National Influenza Vaccination Week is a critical reminder to make sure everyone gets the flu vaccine – especially this year,” Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, ACP President, says in the release. “Getting the flu vaccine helps to ease the burden on our healthcare systems which right now are being stressed in light of COVID-19. Vaccines are safe and effective and it is especially important for people at high risk of flu-related complications including all adults over 65, adults with chronic conditions, and women who are pregnant.”

In a 2017 survey, the CDC discovered that flu vaccination coverage for adults over 19 was only about 45 percent, 60 percent for adults with high risk conditions, and 68 percent for those 65 and older. Racial and ethnic disparities also exist with only a 38.5 percent flu vaccination rate among Black adults, and only 37 percent among Hispanic adults compared to 48 percent of white adults, the release says.