November 17th, 2022
Is there a “Twindemic” upon us?
As the world battled the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, with heightened measures to quarantine and social distance, the influenza virus remained relatively inactive and maintained a low profile. However, the 2022 seasonal influenza virus may be rebounding in higher numbers than anticipated. Influenza, the “flu,” is a contagious respiratory disease and spreads mainly via droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. Scientists are referencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, alongside a rise in influenza cases, as a fearful and dreaded ‘twindemic.’
Although viruses are present year round in the United States, there tends to be an increase in COVID-19 and influenza cases in the fall and winter months. The trends in the Southern Hemisphere with their earlier flu season can often help predict the virus behaviors in the Northern Hemisphere. This year the flu season in the Southern Hemisphere, in countries like Australia, was the worst it has been in recent years, with respiratory infections increasing earlier in the flu season than expected. The combination of both viruses at peak levels could strain the US healthcare system.
Amidst fears of a winter ‘twindemic,’ the best way to reduce your risk from the seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every flu season. The Center for Disease Control recommends everyone aged 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine every flu season. The vaccine is necessary annually, as the immune protection from the vaccine wanes over time. Additionally, new strains of the influenza virus are constantly appearing and mutating, requiring updates to the flu vaccines each year based on the most prevalent strains.
Your SmithRx benefit lets you get your flu vaccine from local pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Safeway or Costco. Alternatively, you can call any in-network pharmacy to see if they’re administering the flu vaccine. Most insurances cover the flu vaccine at $0. However, call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card to check your plan-specific coverage details.
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Is there a “Twindemic” upon us?
As the world battled the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, with heightened measures to quarantine and social distance, the influenza virus remained relatively inactive and maintained a low profile. However, the 2022 seasonal influenza virus may be rebounding in higher numbers than anticipated. Influenza, the “flu,” is a contagious respiratory disease and spreads mainly… Continue reading Is there a “Twindemic” upon us?
The end of an era.
Humira price hikes come to an end with biosimilars in 2023. After nearly two decades of patent exclusivity and $200 billion in sales, Abbvie’s monopoly on Humira (adalimumab) is ending in 2023. What does this mean for members and employer groups now that the highest grossing drug of all time finally has competition from biosimilar… Continue reading The end of an era.
The Ozempic Shortage Explained
Ozempic, manufactured by Novo Nordisk, is a medication FDA approved for treatment of type 2 diabetes. An uptick in off-label prescription use, for indications such as Obesity, has led to an increase in demand for Ozempic. The high demand has resulted in an Ozempic shortage nationwide. The manufacturer has indicated the shortage will continue until… Continue reading The Ozempic Shortage Explained