Next winter, not only could we experience a second wave of COVID-19, but it’s guaranteed that we will—in tandem—experience the seasonal flu.
Experts believe a strategy to combat COVID-19 is to perform widespread inoculations in the U.S. population to build an infrastructure for a COVID-19 vaccination when it becomes available, and prevent unnecessary flu-related hospital visits during the pandemic.
The inevitable wave will hit. Now, it’s just a matter of triage as we face an uncertain future in the wake of the coronavirus. Mitigation at skilled nursing and long-term care facilities is even more essential as illness can spread quickly due to close contact among patients and staff. What do LTC operators need to know to get ahead of the flu, and in turn, support COVID-19 efforts and preventions?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection, from October 2019 to April 2020, there were up to 56 million flu illnesses and 62,000 deaths. The risk is exponential for people who are 65 and older. The CDC reports that “approximately 90% of influenza-related deaths and 50-70% of influenza-related hospitalizations occur among people in this age group.”
The Washington Post reports that “The nightmare scenario would be an exceptionally severe flu season arriving along with Covid-19.” Meanwhile, “the U.S. fails to meet public-health goals for flu vaccination. During the 2018-19 season, only 45.3% of adults got a flu shot. That is above average but below the 70% target set by the Department of Health and Human Services for 2020.”
Wharton finance professor Jules H. van Binsbergen claims that flu mitigation needs more attention from policymakers, and arguably LTC providers, because: “Suppose we get similar enthusiasm for COVID vaccination as we’re currently seeing for flu, that would not be good because that would mean that only 39% of the people would get vaccinated against COVID.”
Shifting the mindset and truly saving lives starts with LTC operators taking an aggressive approach to flu vaccinations in two ways 1. Vaccinate residents and staff. CDC data indicates that only 68 percent of staff in LTC facilities get the flu shot, meaning staff could be contributing to the spread of the flu as they bring it into the facilities. 2. Safeguarding facilities with vaccine supply. “Easier access to vaccines, through improved ordering, distribution, and reimbursement mechanisms, can help ensure that vaccines are readily available to nursing homes,” reports the Department of Health and Human Services.
A solution to supply issue is using SRX’s Vaccine Direct program, which provides flu vaccines to long-term care facilities in partnership with Synergy HCA, a general purchasing organization (GPO), as well as vaccine manufacturers GlaxoSmithKlein (GSK) and Seqirus.
Yosef Daskal, COO at Synergy HCA explains: “This program provides both discounted pricing and priority shipments. In a year where so much is already in question for LTC operators, it is more imperative than ever that supply is secured to protect patients, as well as facility staff.”
The CDC recommends annual immunization by October, which means ordering the vaccine now should be top-of-mind for LTC operators.
SRX Program Details
Competitive pricing and delivery for flu vaccines are still available. Enroll today to ensure your facility has a sufficient supply prior to the CDC-recommended administration deadline in October.
- Obtain first priority shipments and wholesale pricing
- Bypass supply chain issues
- Existing SRX customers can net payments from rebate distributions for cashless transactions
“As we continue to provide innovative solutions to the industry, our Vaccine Direct program offers customers the opportunity to have one less thing to worry about,” stated Scott Taylor, CEO at SRX. “From securing discounted pricing, to handling all the logistics of delivering supply to facilities, our customers can rest assured that their residents and their families have added peace of mind.”
SRX is a technology and advisory company that helps LTC operators realize the lowest net cost on pharmacy spend. We help our customers improve drug utilization, manage pharmacy relationships, reduce costs and waste, and maximize rebates. We are committed to transparency and accountability and guarantee our quarterly rebates are paid on time, every time. Contact us at 833 633 6833.