Remind Your Patients: It’s Not Too Late for a Flu Shot

Posted January 9, 2020

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seasonal influenza activity in the U.S. is high and continues to increase. The CDC Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report for the week ending December 28 (week 52), reported that the proportion of people seeing their health care provider for influenza-like illness (ILI) was 6.9%, which is above the national baseline of 2.4%.1 Five influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported in the last week of 2019, bringing the total to 27. Influenza B/Victoria viruses have been reported more frequently than other influenza viruses this season followed by A(H1N1)pdm09.1

It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine. The CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older as the best way to prevent illness and protect against flu complications. Typically, the peak of flu season occurs in February, but activity can last as late as May.

A new survey from NORC (formerly known as National Opinion Research Center) at the University of Chicago reports that as of mid-November 2019, 44% of adults reported that they had gotten a flu vaccination. However, 37% of adults said they have not been vaccinated and do not intend to do so.2

As a reminder, you may want to talk to your patients about the flu vaccine. There are several misconceptions regarding this vaccine, so it is important to educate patients about the risks and benefits of getting a yearly flu vaccine. The following discussion points may help you help your patients feel more informed and aware of their health care:

  • Potential health risks of influenza infection
  • Relative benefits and effectiveness of receiving the flu vaccine
  • Potential side effects that could occur after receiving the vaccine
  • Any patient concerns/issues regarding influenza vaccination

While many of our members’ health benefit plans include influenza vaccination coverage with no member cost sharing, there are some exceptions. It’s important to check eligibility and benefits information for details regarding copays, coinsurance and deductibles before administering the influenza vaccine to our members.

Additional information such as information for Health Care Professionals and weekly flu reports can be found on the CDC’s Influenza (Flu) page.

1CDC, Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report,

2NORC at the University of Chicago, 37% of Americans Do Not Plan to Get a Flu Shot This Season, Dec. 3, 2019.

The information mentioned here is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician. Members should refer to their certificate of coverage for more details, including benefits, limitations and exclusions. Regardless of benefits, the final decision about any medication is between the member and their health care provider.

Checking eligibility and/or benefit information is not a guarantee of payment. Benefits will be determined once a claim is received and will be based upon, among other things, the member’s eligibility and the terms of the member’s certificate of coverage applicable on the date services were rendered. If you have any questions, please call the number on the back of the member’s ID card.