Get Ready: Here Comes Flu Season

Pharmacy Times, September 2022, Volume 88, Issue 09

It is not a leap to think that the 2022-2023 season could be worse than the past 2 seasons.

Although it is always difficult to predict the severity of an upcoming influenza season, it is not a leap to think that the 2022-2023 season could be worse than the past 2 seasons.

The greatly reduced numbers of flu cases in the 2020-2021 season were likely related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as individuals took precautions such as frequent handwashing, mask-wearing, and social distancing. In addition, most schools and many workers operated remotely, limiting contact among individuals.

Influenza activity increased for the 2021-2022 season from the previous year, though related hospitalizations and deaths were still historically low, according to the CDC.

What does that mean for the 2022-2023 season? With many individuals back in workplaces and schools without mask mandates and no longer socially distancing, there could be an uptick in the number of flu cases this year.

It is imperative that pharmacists urge patients to get flu vaccines, especially those who are higher risk, such as older or immunocompromised individuals.

In this issue's Cover Feature on flu vaccines, Kathleen Kenny, PharmD, RPh, provides an excellent overview of the role of pharmacists during flu season and summarizes updates from the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting in March to select the influenza viruses for the composition of the vaccine for the 2022-2023 US influenza season. This is a must-read for pharmacists as fall and winter are quickly approaching.

Elsewhere in the September issue, there is a primer on preventing and managing dry eye, challenges associated with treating patients with eating disorders, and how hypercholesterolemia counseling improves adherence.

Finally, check out the finalists for the Next-Generation Pharmacist® awards, which recognizes exceptional pharmacists, pharmacy students, and technicians who have gone above and beyond in caring for patients and advancing the profession. The awards ceremony will be held September 30, 2022, in Kansas City, Missouri. Since 2010, the program has been held with Parata Systems, the industry's most comprehensive pharmacy technology solutions provider. Look for the list of winners in the October issue of Pharmacy Times

As always, we thank you for reading.

REFERENCE

Grohskopf LA, Blanton LH, Ferdinands JM. Prevention and control of seasonal influenza with vaccines: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices - United States, 2022-23 Influenza Season. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2022;71(1):1-28. doi:10.15585/mmwr.rr7101a1