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Since I can remember, I've never missed getting an influenza (flu) shot. For me, getting vaccinated each year was mostly for personal reasons; I thought I was too busy with school or work to risk getting sidelined with the flu. But this year, my perspective of why I should get a flu vaccine—and earlier than usual—has changed.

A 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paper estimated that, on average, 8% of the U.S. population gets infected and develops flu symptoms each year, and hundreds of thousands of those infected end up hospitalized. But this year, our front-line responders and hospitals are already overwhelmed with the COVID-19 crisis. The looming threat of a two-front public health war would strain patients, communities and the country even more.

That's why Surescripts is proud to join the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) to spread awareness about the importance of getting flu vaccines this year. NACDS is encouraging Americans age six months and older to get vaccinated.

“Like wearing masks, keeping six feet apart and washing hands during the COVID-19 crisis, Americans can help protect themselves and others by getting a flu vaccination" Ken Whittemore Jr., Surescripts Vice President of Professional & Regulatory Affairs, shared with me. "It's important that we all do our part in helping our healthcare providers better serve patients battling COVID-19 by not overburdening the system with preventable influenza cases as well.”

Check with your pharmacist, healthcare provider and insurance company to see if the flu vaccination is available to you at no cost. And learn more about Surescripts' response to COVID-19 on our COVID-19 resources page.