Protect yourself and others with a flu shot this year during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
Regence covers flu shots at 100% for most members
The normal flu season, which takes place October through April, may be different this year given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Public health experts say the combination of the two viruses spreading and causing illness has the potential to become a public health crisis, making it important to take steps to slow the spread of both. This includes distancing from others, avoiding crowds, wearing a mask in public, washing hands, and cleaning often-used surfaces.
While clinical trials are underway for a COVID-19 vaccine, the flu vaccine is readily available. "The best prevention against the flu is receiving a flu vaccination,” says Dr. Jim Polo, Regence’s executive medical director. “Regence covers flu shots at 100% for most members and that means there’ll be no cost share or out-of-pocket expenses to receive appropriate vaccination.”
The flu is a serious illness, landing many in the hospital. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates from October 2019 to April 2020, between 410,000 and 740,000 people in the U.S. were hospitalized due to severe flu symptoms.
To minimize the potential strain on hospitals from both flu and COVID-19 patients, the CDC urges everyone older than 6 months to get vaccinated. “By getting that flu vaccine, you may be able to then negate the necessity to have to take up a hospital bed,” says Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC. “And then that hospital bed can be more available for those that potentially get hospitalized for COVID.”
Although the typical flu season peaks between December and February, the CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October because it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to become effective.
Flu shots are available now in most in-network doctors’ offices, pharmacies and supermarkets. Regence members can also search online with the Find a Doctor tool on regence.com or call customer service to find in-network options.