2020-2021 Flu Season Reminders and Updates, Including What’s Covered for Medicaid

October 5, 2020

Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to help protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on health care systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You may want to talk to your patients about the flu vaccine. There are several misconceptions regarding this vaccine, so it’s 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:

  • Benefits of the flu vaccine
  • Side effects that could occur after receiving the vaccine
  • Flu symptoms
  • Effectiveness of the flu vaccination
  • Patients' concerns/issues regarding this vaccine1

What’s covered for Illinois Medicaid members?
For the 2020-2021 flu season, Blue Cross Community MMAI (Medicare-Medicaid Plan)SM members are covered for all flu vaccines under Medicare Part B, none are excluded. Below is the covered list for Blue Cross Community Health PlansSM (BCCHPSM) members:

  • Afluria Quadrivalent
  • Fluad
  • Flulaval Quadrivalent
  • Fluzone Quadrivalent
  • Fluarix Quadrivalent
  • Flucelvax Quadrivalent
  • Flublok Quadrivalent

Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for the most recent updates on newly available products and the approved age ranges.2 

The CDC recommends people who are 6 months or older and have no contraindications, should receive a yearly flu vaccine. This is the first and most important step in protecting against influenza and its potentially serious complications.3

Children 6 months to 8 years, who are receiving their first vaccination, and those who have previously received one dose of vaccine, should get two doses of the vaccine this flu season.To prevent missed opportunities, you may want to discuss and offer a flu vaccine during office visit, if applicable.

According to the CDC, flu vaccine is the foremost prevention against seasonal influenza. Antiviral drug may be used to lessen the symptoms of the flu however, educating patients that these drugs are not a substitute for getting a flu vaccine is vital.

1CDC, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, Influenza (Flu), April 28, 2020, Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fflu%2Fprotect%2Fkeyfacts.htm

2CDC, National Center for immunization and Respiratory Disease, Influenza (Flu), Frequently asked Influenza (Flu) Questions:2020-2021 Season, August 7, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2020-2021.htm

3CDC, National Center for immunization and Respiratory Disease, Influenza, April 28, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fflu%2Fprotect%2Fkeyfacts.htm

4CDC, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, Influenza (Flu), Oct. 23, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/children.htm
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The information mentioned here is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician. Physicians are to exercise their own medical judgment. Pharmacy benefits and limits are subject to the terms set forth in the member’s certificate of coverage which may vary from the limits set forth above. The listing of any particular drug or classification of drugs is not a guarantee of benefits. Members should refer to their certificate of coverage for more details, including benefits, limitations and exclusions. Regardless of benefits, the final decision about any treatment, medication or vaccination is between the member and their health care provider.