As flu season worsens, Regence members are encouraged to get vaccinated
Updated Feb. 24, 2020
It’s not too late to get a flu shot, and with reports that this flu season could be one of the worst in decades, it’s a good idea to get vaccinated soon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that an estimated 16,000 people in the United States have died as of Feb. 15, with at least 29 million illnesses. This includes 105 child deaths due to influenza, which is a record at this point in the flu season. Oregon, Washington and Utah are reporting high incidences of flu-like illnesses, while Idaho is reporting minimal activity so far.
“It’s vitally important that everyone get a flu shot, which is the best way to protect yourself and prevent the spread of the disease to family members, friends and coworkers," said Dr. Cheryl Pegus, president of consumer solutions and chief medical officer for Regence.
The cost of a flu shot is covered for almost all Regence members as a preventive benefit. This means members have no out-of-pocket cost when they get the vaccine at an in-network pharmacy or provider. To confirm your coverage, visit your Member Dashboard on regence.com or contact us and we can help with details.
Last year’s flu season in the U.S. was worse than the previous five years, with 41.3 million people becoming ill and 53,700 deaths.
The CDC encourages everyone 6 months and older to get the vaccine each year. Certain people are at more risk of becoming sick if they contract the flu, including:
- Children younger than 5, but especially those younger than 2
- Adults 65 and older
- Pregnant women
- Nursing home and other long-term care facility residents
- American Indians and Alaskan Natives
- People with certain medical conditions, including, but not limited to: asthma, COPD and liver disorders.
Getting vaccinated now can still help protect you. Even if you do contract the flu, being immunized can lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration of illness.
If you have a Regence plan through work, your employer may have already scheduled an on-site flu shot clinic. Be sure to see if one is scheduled for your worksite. If you missed a clinic, check with your provider or search the CDC’s flu vaccine finder.