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This year we are undoubtedly faced with unique challenges with the impending co-circulation of influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have resulted in a reduction in the use of routine medical care, including immunizations. Ensuring that patients continue to receive preventive services such as vaccinations is imperative to keeping communities healthy. As such, it is more critical than ever that all women, especially those who are pregnant, receive an influenza (flu) vaccine.

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.

2020-21 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 a flu vaccine.

Strategies 2020-21 Sample Messages
In the context of co-circulation of influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses, address patient questions and concerns about the influenza vaccine in plain and understandable language.
  • Flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses.
  • Getting a flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19 however, it will provide other benefits like lowering the risk of flurelated illness and hospitalizations. 
  • You cannot get flu from a flu shot. Flu vaccines have been shown to be very safe.  
  • 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, especially pregnant women about the safety and benefits of flu vaccine and the severity of influenza disease.
  • The flu vaccine is especially important for pregnant women. Pregnant women 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.
Strongly recommend and offer flu shots to all patients in your practice, particularly pregnant women. 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.
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 vaccines reduce the burden of flu on our communities and also reduce the burden on the health care system.
  • The flu vaccine prevents the flu. It 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 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