Alert

Flu prevention and COVID-19

2020–2021: A flu season like no other

Along with the flu, this fall and winter may bring a new wave of COVID-19 cases. While a flu vaccine won’t protect you and your workforce from COVID-19, it can reduce the risk of the flu and help conserve potentially scarce health care resources needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Research also shows it’s possible to have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.1 And while COVID-19 has proven deadlier than the seasonal flu virus, the flu can be deadly, too. Over the past 3 flu seasons for which data is available, the flu was responsible for an estimated 44,495 deaths, on average, each season.2

During the 2018-2019 flu season, 35.5 million Americans got sick with the flu, 16.5 million Americans had to see a doctor for the flu, and 46 thousand children were hospitalized with the flu.

Benefits of getting the flu vaccine
By encouraging your employees to get the flu vaccine, you’re helping to keep your workforce healthy and your business strong. You’re also helping to reduce health care costs for you and your employees. During the 2018–2019 flu season, flu vaccines helped:

  • Prevent 4.4 million flu illnesses and 3,500 deaths
  • Avoid 2.3 million medical visits and 58,000 hospitalizations

Overall, the flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor due to the flu by 40% to 60%.3

Flu shots also available at retail locations
Due to the pandemic, this year Kaiser Permanente is focused on new ways to deliver flu shots to our members safely and conveniently, including offering more outdoor and drive-thru vaccination clinics. From October 1 to December 31, Kaiser Permanente members can also get a flu shot at no additional cost from multiple retail locations, including Walgreens, CVS Health, and Walmart. Visit kp.org/flu for a full list of retail locations and to learn more.

Flu resources for your employees

Making it safer and easier to get the flu vaccine


To limit potential exposure to COVID-19 and to advance equitable access to the flu vaccine, we’re now offering:

  • Drive-thru flu vaccine clinics
  • Worksite flu clinics
  • Flu vaccines when employees come in for other care
  • Flu vaccines at many retailers and pharmacies
Encourage your team to visit kp.org/flu today.

Is it the flu or COVID-19?


The coronavirus and the flu can cause similar symptoms. Before visiting a Kaiser Permanente facility for testing or in-person care, your employees should first schedule an e-visit, phone appointment, or video visit. Our clinicians can help determine if an in-person appointment or COVID-19 testing is needed.

Cold, flu, or COVID-19? Share our symptoms checklists with your workforce.

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  • 1

    “Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions: 2020-2021 Season,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed September 8, 2020, cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2020-2021.htm.

  • 2

    “Estimated Influenza Illnesses, Medical Visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths in the United States,” for past seasons 2018–2019, 2017–2018, and 2016–2017, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed September 2, 2020, cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2018-2019.html.

  • 3

    “Vaccine Effectiveness: How Well Do the Flu Vaccines Work?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed September 2, 2020, cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/vaccineeffect.htm.