AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — With public health officials warning of a possible overlap of influenza and COVID-19 this fall, the stakes for increasing flu vaccination rates have never been higher. Superior HealthPlan is launching its annual Fluvention® program to encourage Texas residents to get a flu vaccine. As the pandemic continues, Superior also wants to help people better understand the differences between the flu and COVID-19.
“To help protect against the flu, we encourage members to schedule their vaccination appointments as soon as possible,” said Dr. David Harmon, Chief Medical Director at Superior. “Since it can take two weeks after getting the vaccine for the antibodies that protect against the flu to fully develop, it’s best to get a vaccine early in the season. Plus, with the continued threat of COVID-19, protecting yourself against the flu is even more important this year.”
Experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have begun urging Americans to get a flu vaccination. They, like many other public health experts, worry about health systems that are already stressed by large numbers of COVID-19 patients also being overwhelmed with flu patients.
To help reduce flu-related illness and hospitalizations in Texas, Superior is communicating with members – through text messages, phone calls, emails and social media – to make a plan to get their flu vaccine. Additionally, Superior providers will receive the latest flu information to help them strengthen how they communicate with their patients. These initiatives are part of Superior’s Fluvention® program.
Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar. Below are a few key differences:
One unique symptom of COVID-19 is the loss of taste or smell.
Flu symptoms typically develop 1-4 days after infection, while COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
Most people with the flu are contagious for 1 day before they show symptoms. With COVID-19, it’s possible to spread the virus about 2 days before symptoms, and individuals remain contagious for 10 days after symptoms first appear. COVID-19 may also be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
There are multiple vaccines to protect against the flu virus but, as of September 2020, there is no vaccine for the virus that causes COVID-19.
Vaccines as well as good hygiene, like washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes, are key to preventing the flu. While everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine, the CDC notes it’s especially important for the following groups who are at higher risk for complications:
Children younger than age 5
People 65 years of age and older
People of any age with chronic medical conditions
Superior members 6 months to 6 years old can receive a flu vaccination at no cost in a medical setting. Members 7 years or older can receive a vaccine in a medical setting or at a participating pharmacy. If members think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or the flu, they’re encouraged to contact their provider as soon as possible.
About Superior HealthPlan
Founded in 1999, Superior HealthPlan is a managed care company that delivers quality health care throughout Texas. Committed to transforming the health of the community, one person at a time, Superior supports active local involvement in all 254 Texas counties with more than 4,000 employees in 10 offices throughout the state. Superior is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise offering both core Medicaid and specialty services. More information on Superior can be found at www.SuperiorHealthPlan.com.
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SOURCE Superior HealthPlan