After two years of very low levels of influenza in the U.S., coinciding with pandemic lockdowns, the virus is back with a vengeance and earlier in the season that normal.
Respiratory health charity the American Lung Association (ALA) is teaming up with flu vaccine make CSL Seqirus to encourage Americans to get their annual shot for the virus as it surges across the country.
Built to coincide with National Influenza Vaccination Week, the ALA, with help from CSL, is launching a new adult education campaign to talk about the dangers of flu in the hope of boosting uptake for shots to stop the virus, with a focus on those with high-risk conditions that could lead them to be hospitalized.
The central part of the campaign is a new website that has quizzes on how well you know the flu, information about the safety of flu shots and links to local flu vaccine services and a new poster it will be publishing around the country.
It also has a social media toolkit and #flushot hashtags for people to tag themselves in when they get their shots and comes with templates explaining how flu shots work and how they help, so people can share on social media platforms in the hope it will boost awareness.
The ALA said in its release that it has “partnered with CSL Seqirus to educate Americans about the flu and steps they can take to protect themselves from severe flu illness.”
This follows a similar partnership with Sanofi made in September where the ALA ran a campaign to boost awareness of RSV, another serious and potentially deadly respiratory virus that affects the very young and the old.
Pharma companies do not use any branding with the ALA for their products but do help with ideas for the educational tools and materials for the campaigns. CSL Seqirus, known for creating a vaccine for the 1918 so-called Spanish flu epidemic, is one of the largest manufacturers of influenza vaccines in the world and produces a host of flu shots for both adults and children each year.
“Flu activity has been relatively low the last two flu seasons because of COVID-19 precautions, but this year we are already seeing more cases than previous years,” said Harold Wimmer, national president and CEO of the ALA, in a press release.
“While anyone can get the flu, certain people are at increased risk for developing serious complications such as those living with chronic medical conditions including asthma, COPD and other chronic lung diseases, as well as heart disease and diabetes. Getting a flu shot protects you, and the people around you.”