This upcoming flu season, it is likely that flu viruses will spread along with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. As such, getting a flu vaccine during the 2020–21 influenza season will be more important than ever for a number of reasons. First: the symptoms of flu and SARS-CoV-2 will overlap, making the diagnosis and treatment of both more challenging. There is no evidence to suggest that Tamiflu, the treatment for flu in pregnancy, will have any effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Second: the potential increase in cases of both infections may again overwhelm health care systems and put further strain on the ability to render appropriate care. Third: while we continue to study the effects of SARS-CoV-2 in pregnancy, particularly the severity of disease for pregnant women, we already know the potential devastating effects of influenza in pregnancy; and we know that the best strategy to protect pregnant patients is prevention with flu vaccination.
ACOG recommends that all adults receive an annual influenza vaccine and that patients who are or will be pregnant during influenza season receive an inactivated influenza vaccine. An offer of a vaccine from a health care professional plays an integral role in increasing flu vaccination coverage among patients. As such, ACOG urges obstetrician–gynecologists and other health care professionals to strongly recommend influenza vaccination to their patients.
ACOG and the CDC encourage using the Standards for Adult Immunization Practice to make a strong vaccine recommendation and provide important information to help patients make informed decisions about vaccinations.
- Assess immunization status of all patients at every clinical encounter
- Strongly recommend vaccines that patients need.
- Administer needed vaccines or refer to a vaccination provider.
- Document vaccines received by patients in state vaccine registries.
Visit ACOG’s Seasonal Influenza web page for more useful resources to assist you throughout this upcoming flu season.