When paired with the precautions adopted during the pandemic – such as social distancing and face-coverings – the spread of influenza (and other respiratory viruses) was virtually non-existent in 2020. However, before celebrating last season’s influenza absence, it is important to note that this circumstance sets the stage for a somewhat cloudy future, as next flu season could be extra weird, and potentially very bad.
The COVID-19 Factor
While it is impossible to predict what the next flu season will look like, there exists a real possibility that it could bring severe outbreaks. Here’s why:
Let’s start with the science. Disease experts predict that last year’s break from seasonal viruses may leave communities vulnerable, since fewer people will be exposed, and therefore, fewer people will gain immunity to the circulating strains.1 Also, the sheer lack of circulating influenza strains, inevitably makes it harder to prepare for flu season from a vaccination standpoint.
Now for the sociological explanation. From wearing face masks to social distancing, communities and states across the country are in the process of relaxing—if not all together removing—COVID-19 safety protocols. This only makes it more likely that influenza transmission rates will return to the previous high levels seen in pre-pandemic years.
The Answer – Community Pharmacies
While there is a lot of unknown surrounding this coming flu season, there are two certainties. One, getting a flu shot remains the best way to protect against influenza, and two, local community pharmacies are the best place for patients to get the flu shot, and most vaccinations.
In the wake of COVID-19, it has never been more important for community pharmacies to prepare for all of the unknowns that may come with flu season. Fortunately, the PrescribeWellness solution is here to support pharmacists and turn pharmacies into healthcare destinations primed for the mitigation of influenza through vaccinations and other preventive services.
Prepare for Flu Season with PrescribeWellness
By leveraging the tools offered through PrescribeWellness’ comprehensive vaccination solution, your pharmacy staff can easily and quickly identify opportunities for vaccinations across your patient population. In fact, to make identifying and targeting your most at-risk patients even more precise, the PrescribeWellness software offers advanced filtering capabilities that allow you to filter by a range of factors, such as age or insurance plan, as well as the communication capabilities to reach out to these patients via phone and text to connect about vaccination availability.
The PrescribeWellness vaccination solution also helps streamline pharmacy workflow, saving your staff valuable time with online intake and scheduling solutions, as well as automated reporting processes for administered vaccinations to state immunization information systems (IIS). Additionally, pharmacies can leverage clinical contact centers that act as an extension of your practice by supporting patients with vaccination registration, scheduling, and more.
With improved visibility of your patient population and a more efficient workflow provided through PrescribeWellness, operating a vaccination business that is set up for long-term success has never been easier—or more important.
Need additional support implementing vaccinations into your pharmacy workflow? PrescribeWellness can help your pharmacy jump-start and maintain critical vaccination services in time for flu season.