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10/18/2021

Walgreens once again tracking flu activity

Walgreens Flu Index shows that flu activity is up 23% compared to last flu season as people return to more in-person activities.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
Sandra Levy profile picture

For the eighth year running, Walgreens is rolling out its Flu Index. The tool tracks flu activity in areas across the country and serves as a reminder for people to get an annual flu shot.

“The Walgreens Flu Index shows higher flu activity to date than what we saw last year during this same time when we saw unprecedented low levels of flu due to people sheltering in place, wearing masks and record flu shots administered,” Kevin Ban, chief medical officer at Walgreens said. “It remains critically important to get vaccinated against the flu before it spreads in your community. With many regions loosening COVID mitigation efforts and people spending more time together in person, we may see an uptick in flu activity and our pharmacy team members are readily accessible to help you get vaccinated and address questions.”

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The Walgreens Flu Index shows that to date, overall flu activity is 23% higher nationwide when compared to the 2020-2021 flu season.

[Read more: Walgreens rolls out 2021-2022 flu shots]

In addition, the tool shows that during the week of Oct. 3, Las Vegas and Nevada topped the list of markets and states for flu activity. This may be attributed to Las Vegas being a top tourist destination in the United States, as well as increased face-to-face interaction and reduced preventive measures in certain regions. Several Texas communities topped the list, with southern markets showing the most widespread flu activity this flu season. This is consistent with trends seen over the last two flu seasons.

According to the CDC, while flu vaccine uptake has increased for adults over the past three flu seasons, lower vaccination rates are evident among Black and Hispanic adults. Many southern regions showing incidences of flu also have large Black and Hispanic populations, communities that experience higher rates of flu hospitalization and are at higher risk for flu-related complications. The Walgreens Flu Index underscores that some of the communities hardest hit by flu are also the most vulnerable.

“COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and barriers to access are not an isolated issue. Many people share the same concerns when it comes to getting a flu shot, wondering if it is safe, if it works or if it is actually needed,” said Ban. “Walgreens is committed to breaking down barriers by meeting our patients where they are through off-site vaccination clinics and leaning into our thousands of pharmacists to help address patient questions based on their personal situation and concerns.”

[Read more: Retailer of the Year 2021 Walgreens seizes its omnichannel opportunity]

Top 10 DMAs with Flu Activity were:

  1. Las Vegas;
  2. El Paso, Texas;
  3. Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas;
  4. Tyler-Longview, Texas;
  5. Montgomery-Selma, Ala.;
  6. Columbus-Tupelo-West Point-Houston, Miss.;
  7. Knoxville, Tenn.;
  8. Corpus Christi, Texas;
  9. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas; and
  10. Youngstown, Ohio.

Top 10 States with Flu Activity were:

  1. Nevada;
  2. Mississippi;
  3. Texas;
  4. New Mexico;
  5. Tennessee;
  6. Washington, D.C.;
  7. Oklahoma; 
  8. Louisiana;
  9. Alabama; and
  10. Alaska
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