Influenza Public Health Alert
Reduce Patient Risk
The mission of the National Minority Quality Forum is to reduce patient risk by assuring optimal care for all. NMQF is particularly concerned about the health of minority and underserved communities who have endured patterns of racism and poor quality care. NMQF intends to be a trusted voice to these communities, and as a trusted source, it issues public health alerts through AI HealthNet.
Flu Vaccine a Public Health Alert
The 2021-2022 Influenza season is upon us, and with the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacting minority and underserved communities, we issue this public health alert that all Americans, particularly minority and underserved communities, should follow the Center for Disease Control’s guidance for influenza vaccine.
It is possible to be infected with the flu and COVID viruses at the same time. The health risk associated with a double infection would be quite high.
Historically in the flu season, African Americans have had worse health outcomes.
African Americans over the age of 65 or those living with a chronic health condition (asthma, heart disease or stroke, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cancer, or living with a disability) have had the highest risk for a severe flu illness.
Medicare, the largest insurer covering the lives of African American seniors, has not done enough to protect this vulnerable population by addressing historic inequities in flu vaccine rates.
Given the risk, those over 65, and others living with a chronic disease, should ask for, and be administered, the high dose vaccine that offers more protection than the standard dose.
Those living with or coming into contact with African American seniors, should also get vaccinated for the flu. If they become infected with the flu virus, they can transmit it to a senior thereby elevating that senior’s risk of a severe flu event.
Get the Vaccine
Those infected with the flu virus can spread the virus, even if they have virtually no symptoms.
Good health is in part about reducing the risk of a bad outcome. Facing the virus without the protection of a vaccine is risky behavior. Seniors and those living with chronic conditions should not take the risk.
The vaccine is free, you can get it at many local pharmacies or at your physician’s office.