The impact of COVID-19 on Illinois’ communities and health care system cannot be understated resulting in Illinois, including Medicaid Managed Care Organizations, having to rapidly mobilize and adapt.
Technical experts from the Illinois Association of Medicaid Health Plans (IAMHP) and Medicaid Health plans have been working with Illinois’ Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to find solutions to some of the many issues facing Illinois residents. But as we move into autumn and winter, the United States’ now faces the possibility of a “twindemic” with COVID-19 and the upcoming flu season happening simultaneously.
Many questions remain about how flu season might affect the pandemic, and vice versa. Especially since the flu and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses, individuals already at risk for developing complications from COVID-19 could be at an even greater risk by contracting the flu.
Could coinfection with influenza worsen the course of COVID-19?
Fortunately, the influenza season in the Southern Hemisphere, which the United States uses to predict our own flu season, had a record low number of cases. This is attributed to travel restrictions, school closures, social distancing and masking from COVID-19, along with strong flu vaccination compliance.
If we continue to follow these recommendations for slowing the spread of COVID-19 -- social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands -- and getting flu vaccinations, we, too, can reduce the impact that the flu will have on our communities.
This is where we need our partners and the public to encourage everyone to do what they can to reduce the number of flu cases.
The easiest way to do that is to get the flu shot.
Experts recommended that you plan now to ensure you are covered when the peak of the flu season happens which is usually mid-to-late winter. Although, it is never too late to get vaccinated.
Just as we came together earlier this year to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19, we need everyone to do their part in reducing the impact of this year’s influenza season by getting vaccinated.
To learn more about addressing concerns of vaccine hesitancy, how to catch-up on immunizations due to COVID-19 and how to address gaps in vaccinations visit IAMHP’s video library.
To learn about the latest news and insights on Illinois Medicaid for healthcare providers, healthcare advocacy groups and Medicaid members visit IAMHP’s insights page.