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Last year we experienced unprecedently low influenza activity across the country. This is likely due to individuals taking preventive precautions during the pandemic, such as frequent hand washing, mask wearing, and staying home. This year as we begin to resume our usual late-summer and fall activities it is likely that we will start to see the reemergence of respiratory illnesses, including influenza. And as we have seen, COVID-19 is still circulating across the country. Ensuring that patients receive routine vaccinations is imperative to keeping communities healthy. As such, it is critical that all patients, especially those who are pregnant, receive an influenza (flu) vaccine this fall.

ACOG's immunization department and leadership has distributed a letter to the members of the ACOG Council of District chairs to encourage and remind members to protect themselves and their patients against influenza. Read the full letter and access talking points members can use to assist them in communicating the importance of influenza vaccination below.

2021-22 Sample Messages and Resources

This flu season, ACOG encourages you to lead by example by educating and vaccinating yourself, your staff, and your patients against influenza. Use the following sample messages to share the importance of getting vaccinated.

Strategies 2021-22 Sample Messages
In the context of co-circulation of influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses, address patient questions and concerns about both vaccines in plain and understandable language.
  • Flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses. There are different vaccines for flu and COVID-19.
  • Getting a flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19, however it will provide other benefits like lowering the risk of flu-related illness and hospitalizations.
  • You cannot get flu from a flu shot. Flu vaccines have been shown to be very safe.
  • You cannot get COVID-19 from a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are very safe and effective.
  • Because your protection from a flu vaccine declines over time, a flu vaccination each year is still the best protection available against flu.
Educate all patients, including pregnant patients, about the safety and benefits of vaccination and the severity of influenza and COVID-19 disease.
  • The flu vaccine is especially important for pregnant patients. Pregnant patients can be at higher risk of getting very sick from the flu.
  • The flu shot helps protect you and your baby from flu illness for several months after their birth, before he or she is old enough to be vaccinated.
  • Pregnant patients are at increased risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 vaccination can protect you from getting severely ill as a result of COVID-19.
Strongly recommend and offer flu shots to all patients in your practice, particularly pregnant patients. Flu shots can and should be given as soon as the vaccine is available.
  • I strongly recommend you get a flu shot while you are in the office today. Getting the shot today will help protect you against the flu and help you avoid making an extra visit to this or another health care facility in the future.
Strongly recommend COVID-19 vaccination for all patients, including pregnant patients. COVID-19 vaccination should occur as soon as possible to prevent illness.
  • I strongly recommend you get a COVID-19 vaccine today. Getting the shot is safe and will help protect you against COVID-19. It will help keep you and your family healthy and safe from this potentially serious disease.
Encourage flu vaccine administration before flu activity begins in your community, ideally before the end of October.
  • The best time to get a flu vaccine is before the end of October. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating you can get vaccinated.
Inform your patients that flu and COVID-19 vaccines reduce the burden of illness on our communities and also reduce the burden on the health care system.
  • The flu and COVID-19 vaccines may also help you avoid unnecessary doctor-appointments. This helps limit your risk of exposure to respiratory germs and may also protect people around you.
Encourage all patients to follow preventative measures.
  • Take everyday precautions, like washing your hands, avoiding people who are sick, and wearing your mask, particularly if you are not fully vaccinated, to protect your health and that of your family.

 

To help you take these steps, ACOG and CDC have a multitude of resources on influenza and influenza vaccination.

ACOG Resources

CDC Resources