Flu season 2020: Physicians urge patients to get vaccinated

August 21, 2020

The ACP says that staying up to date on vaccinations is more important than ever.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) is urging adults to get their recommended immunizations in order to stay protected against sometimes serious diseases especially during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

According to a news release, experts fear that this year the COVID-19 cases in the fall and winter and the onset of the 2020-2021 flu season will collide and wreak havoc on patients, the healthcare system, and add strain to already stressed frontline workers.

“Although there are uncertainties with the current COVID-19 global health crisis, we know for sure the benefits of getting immunized for illnesses such as the flu, and that those vaccinations are safe and effective,” Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, president of ACP, says in the release. “They protect against health problems, hospitalization, or even death. They also help prevent the spread of disease, especially among those who are most vulnerable to serious complications, such as the elderly and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems, which is particularly important now given the risks associated with COVID-19.”

In addition to the flu vaccine, the ACP says other important adult immunizations include: Tdap to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough); pneumococcal to protect against pneumococcal pneumonia, bacteremia, and meningitis; HPV to prevent cervical, anal, and other cancers; hepatitis A and B; and herpes zoster to help prevent shingles.

According to a 2017 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults flu immunizations for those 19 and older was about 45 percent and for adults 65 and older was 68 percent; pneumococcal immunizations among high-risk adults 19 and older was about 24.5 percent and 69 percent among adults 65 and older; and , Td or Tdap immunizations for adults 19 and older over a ten-year period was about 63 percent while Tdap vaccination was 32 percent for adults in this age group, the release says.

“Now more than ever recommended immunizations must be part of every adult’s health care plans. And physicians should take advantage of the opportunity when immunizing for the flu to make sure their patients are current on other recommended immunizations,” says Fincher.