Don’t Call It “Just” The Flu
Oct 04, 2022

Flu season is coming – here’s why you shouldn’t call it “just” the flu.

Experts are predicting that the 2022-23 flu season could be severe. While masking and social distancing resulted in the last two flu seasons being milder than usual, the forecast for the 2022-23 season predicts that the spread of influenza viruses could bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.

We’ve been coexisting with flu for a long time now – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some have (falsely) called it “just the flu”, minimizing both COVID and flu severity in the same breath.

Flu isn’t “just the flu” at all. During a typical flu season in the U.S., flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and tens of thousands of deaths. Everyone is at risk from flu – even healthy children and adults. While certain factors make flu infection riskier for some people, ANYONE can get seriously ill, and we can’t always predict who that might be.

On Tuesday October 4, our partners at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) held a press conference where leading infectious disease experts presented data on vaccination rates from the 2021-2022 U.S. flu season and discussed the importance of vaccination against flu and pneumococcal disease, particularly among older adults and those with chronic health conditions who are at higher risk for related complications. NFID also shared data from a new national survey of U.S. adults on vaccination attitudes and behaviors.

One of our advocates, Dr. Jeb Teichman, spoke at the news conference and shared the story of his son Brent who lost his life to flu. Recently, we interviewed Dr. Teichman and he told us more about Brent’s life and why he advocates for vaccination (especially annual flu vaccination) in his memory:

Have you read:

For the hundreds of thousands of people hospitalized each flu season, it isn’t “JUST” the flu.

For parents who have lost children to flu, it isn’t “JUST” the flu.

For people living with chronic health conditions that put them at higher risk, it isn’t “JUST” the flu.

In reality, it isn’t “JUST” the flu for anyone, as any influenza illness can turn severe without warning. 

You need both a COVID booster AND a flu vaccine to be protected this fall and winter season.

While COVID and flu have many similar symptoms, they are caused by two different viruses. In order to be protected from both, you need two vaccines: a seasonal flu shot and your COVID vaccine series. Many people are due for an updated COVID booster now. While the updated COVID boosters are “bivalent”, they do not provide protection against flu – they provide protection against two different COVID strains. Learn more about COVID vaccination here and read up on the top ten most important things to know as we head into flu season.


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