What’s New This Flu Season?
The 2020-2021 flu season is going to be one of the most important flu seasons in recent history due to the ongoing pandemic related to COVID-19. There is a heightened awareness to reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses, such as the flu, and a push for early vaccination.
It’s impossible to determine how severe the flu season will be this year, partially due to the ongoing pandemic with some businesses still shuttered or functioning at reduced capacity, large gatherings forbidden and children being educated from home. Furthermore, with the increasing use of facial masks when in close proximity to others, it is possible the flu season will be very mild. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict. For this reason, it is HIGHLY encouraged to become fully vaccinated against the flu.
There are numerous flu vaccines available to the general public, all of which are covered by private and public insurance. Those without insurance can often get a low-cost or even no cost flu vaccine at major pharmacies. The availability of specific types will vary based on location and population needs.
The four most common flu shots this year are:
- Standard dose flu shots. An inactivated influenza vaccine given via intramuscular injection.
- High-dose shots for people 65 years and older.
- Shots made with flu virus grown in cell culture. No eggs are involved in the production of this vaccine.
- Live attenuated influenza vaccine. A vaccine made with an attenuated live virus that is given by a nasal spray vaccine.
Two new influenza vaccines have been approved for use in people aged 65 years and older: a quadrivalent high-dose influenza vaccine and a quadrivalent adjuvanted influenza vaccine.
Individuals with confirmed COVID-19 or are quarantining due to COVID exposure should avoid receiving the flu vaccination until fully recovered and/or quarantine has ended.