Interim guidance from the CDC on vaccination during a pandemic highlights the importance of the flu vaccine during the 2020-21 flu season. As usual, the CDC recommends all persons age 6 months and older receive the influenza vaccine. Current influenza vaccine recommendations can be found here. While the flu vaccine is always important, it is critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Widespread vaccination can reduce the impact of respiratory illnesses and their resulting burden on the healthcare system.
The CDC urges healthcare providers to use every opportunity during flu season to administer influenza vaccines to eligible persons with a special emphasis on:
- Essential workers: Healthcare personnel, including nursing home, long-term care facility, and pharmacy staff, and other critical infrastructure workforce
- Persons at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19: Including adults age 65 years and older, residents in a nursing home or long-term care facility, persons of all ages with certain underlying medical conditions. Severe illness from COVID-19 has been observed to disproportionately affect members of certain racial/ethnic minority groups
- Persons at high risk for influenza complications: Including infants and young children, children with neurologic conditions, pregnant women, adults age 65 years and older, and other persons with certain underlying medical conditions