- An estimated 35.5 million people in the U.S. contracted flu during the 2018-19 season
- Last flu season saw more than 490,000 hospitalizations and more than 34,000 deaths
- Both COVID-19 and the flu are contagious respiratory illnesses that spreads from person-to-person
- Both COVID-19 and the flu have similar symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath
A major health network launched a campaign to bring awareness about the flu vaccine.
Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network created a month-long campaign called “Little Shot, Big Impact” that will deliver multimedia messages to encourage the public to get their flu shot. The campaign emphasizes that doing so is safe, easy and effective.
In a press release, Highmark and AHN said an estimated 35.5 million people in the U.S. contracted flu during the 2018-19 season, with more than 490,000 hospitalizations and more than 34,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
COVID-19 and the flu are both contagious respiratory illnesses that can spread from person-to-person who are in close contact with one another. Both viruses can present similar symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Those at the highest risk for both diseases include older adults, people with certain underlying medical conditions and women who are pregnant. Young children are at higher risk of severe illness from flu.
“This year, it is more important than ever to obtain vaccination against the flu. Given that influenza and COVID-19 can present similarly, flu can likely be ruled out in most cases for individuals who have had their flu shot but begin to feel ill, enabling more rapid and effective interventions by clinicians,” said Dr. Brian Parker, chief quality officer with AHN. “More broadly, widespread flu vaccination will help to reduce the burden of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths on the health care system, while importantly conserving medical resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.”
The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, Highmark said in the release. While the cost of a flu vaccine is covered by most health insurance plans, including Highmark, patients should review their specific plans to verify coverage.
To receive a flu shot at AHN, patients should call their primary care provider office or call 412-362-8677 to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment online at ahn.org/appointments. Many pharmacies also offer flu shots.
For additional information on the flu, vaccine and how to stay safe this flu season, visit ahn.org/services/primary-care/flu-shot.