Each year, the doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) look ahead to forecast the severity of the looming flu season. This year, however, the CDC has not provided an update pending COVID-19 progression. The World Health Organization (WHO), in late February every year, however, recommends the level of flu vaccine for the United States and the Northern Hemisphere. Because it takes about six months to produce enough vaccine for the season, timing is critical.
One manufacturer announced it would increase its flu vaccine production by eight percent for the U.S. and the Northern Hemisphere.
Of diseases for which we currently have vaccines, the flu causes the most deaths. Flu season begins in October but can continue as late as March. It is important that Americans avoid the flu as much as possible, according to many doctors. With coronavirus infections still peaking in many states, it’s best to avoid emergency room visits and hospitalizations whenever possible.
During the 2019-2020 flu season, the CDC reported 39 million flu incidents and 24,000 flu deaths. We cannot afford to ignore flu vaccines this year. Last year, almost 50 percent of the U.S. population received a flu vaccine. The national goal was 70 percent.
Where Can I Get My Flu Shot?
Because flu strains differ from year to year, manufacturers update flu vaccines each year to best protect the public. Flu vaccines should become available at your doctor’s office or local pharmacy by early October. However, many medical providers will book your flu vaccine appointment early. If you are elderly, have a preexisting medical condition, or are concerned about how the 2020 flu strain will impact you, call your doctor to see if you can book your flu shot now, before supplies arrive or run low.