Walgreens once again tracking flu activity nationwide
For the seventh year running, Walgreens is rolling out its Walgreens Flu Index, tracking flu activity in areas across the country — just in time for National Influenza Vaccination Week. As COVID-19 continues to surge, health officials are encouraging flu shots to prevent two respiratory illnesses from circulating simultaneously, potentially bringing hospitals to capacity.
“It’s important everyone remain vigilant in getting vaccinated against the flu to reduce the burden on our already strained healthcare system during the pandemic,” said Dr. Kevin Ban, Walgreens’ chief medical officer. “Even once COVID-19 vaccines are approved, it takes time for them to reach the general population. Flu shots are available today at local Walgreens pharmacies nationwide and something everyone can do to protect their health, and the health of their loved ones.”
The Walgreens Flu Index shows that in November, overall flu activity was low nationwide when compared with a normal flu season. Many Texan markets are on the list of markets with high flu activity, and many states that typically lead the flu index are again seeing high rates of flu. Numbers are based on absolute impact and incremental change of antiviral medications dispensed on a per-store average basis. It does no measure activity in areas with fewer than 10 Walgreens stores. The index is updated online every Tuesday.
“The unprecedented demand we’ve seen for flu shots this season, along with safety precautions everyone is taking to limit the spread of COVID-19, such as social distancing, wearing facemasks and frequently washing their hands, may be contributing to lower flu activity this season,” Ban said.
The top 10 markets for flu activity in November were:
- San Angelo, Texas;
- Abilene-Sweetwater, Texas;
- El Paso, Texas;
- Tyler-Longview, Texas;
- Las Vegas;
- Jackson, Tenn.;
- Laredo, Texas;
- Alexandria, La.;
- Wichita Falls, Texas/Lawton, Okla.; and
- Odessa-Midland, Texas
The top 10 states for flu activity in November were:
- New Mexico;
- Arkansas; and
- New Jersey