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Report: SingleCare data shows August surge in flu vaccine demand

As confirmed cases of coronavirus rise across the United States, health experts have said that it is more important than ever for people to get an influenza vaccine this fall as both viruses will be in circulation at the same time. While the flu vaccine will not prevent the spread of COVID-19, it will help protect those who receive the vaccination and prevent the spread of the influenza virus. 

“This year is especially important for people to get their flu vaccine as the flu will lower your immune system and potentially put you at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19,” says Ramzi Yacoub, Pharm.D., chief pharmacy officer at SingleCare. “It’s possible we could see fewer flu cases due to coronavirus prevention measures like social-distancing; however, the risks of getting the flu this year are higher due to potentially being co-infected with COVID-19, which may lead to complications.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Medical Association (AMA) are encouraging everyone to get a flu shot earlier this year with public health campaigns launching in September. As these organizations work to promote and encourage the flu shot, SingleCare data shows a large number of consumers are already receiving vaccines at the pharmacy, at a rate typically seen during peak fall months.

August demand for 2020 flu shots comparable to September – October vaccine peaks

SingleCare analyzed data for the flu vaccine in August 2020 compared to 2019 and found that significant demand began in late July. Typically, the majority of people receive their flu vaccinations between mid-September through mid-November. When SingleCare compared the demand for the flu vaccine from August 2020 to August 2019, SingleCare saw a 1,666% increase.  

  • In the month of August, SingleCare has seen tens of thousands of fills for the flu vaccine compared to only a few hundred during the same time period last year. 
  • In August 2020, demand for the vaccine resembled the peak demand SingleCare saw from September to October last year.

“This flu season will be unlike any other as people look to stay ahead of the curve in accessing medications that may become in shorter supply due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Dr. Yacoub says. “It’s remarkable that based on SingleCare data, we’re already seeing fill rates for flu vaccine in August are consistent with what we’d see during the peak of the flu vaccine season.”

The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months receive a flu vaccine. The average retail price for Fluzone Quadrivalent is $49, however with SingleCare, the price for the vaccine is available for as low as $31.

Data disclosures

SingleCare data was reviewed and analyzed by the SingleCare team as of Sept. 1, 2020.

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