COVID-19 patients should delay getting a flu vaccine in order to ensure others in the healthcare setting are not exposed unnecessarily, the CDC has recommended.
Routine vaccination should be deferred for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of symptoms, and patients should be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before and during the visit. In addition, clinicians should don personal protective equipment (PPE) during vaccination, including masks, eye protection and gloves, when appropriate.
On a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) call entitled “2020-2021 Influenza Vaccination Recommendations and Clinical Guidance during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” agency officials attempted to navigate through uncharted waters in infectious diseases, as COVID-19 is set to collide with influenza season.
Officials often look to the southern hemisphere as an indicator for the US flu season, but they reported flu activity at “much lower rates than is typical,” said Lisa Grohskopf, MD, of the CDC. She added that while fewer countries are reporting data and fewer viruses are being detected, social distancing and other preventive measures may have helped reduce the spread of influenza.
“The COVID-19 pandemic also has influenced health-seeking behaviors and testing priorities and capacities, making interpretation challenging,” she added.