What Will the 2021-22 Flu Season Look Like?

COVID-19 response restrained flu outbreaks last year. An expert explains his concern that won't be enough this winter.

To-be-published clinical data from Novavax and Seqirus show the former’s COVID-19 vaccine remains efficacious and safe when co-administered with the latter’s influenza vaccines.

The findings, currently in pre-print status, are the first step toward assessment of coinciding vaccination among persons who may be at increased risk of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variant infection—as well as the flu—in the upcoming fall and winter season.

The threat of simultaneous respiratory viral outbreaks was averted last flu season, despite expressed concern from infectious disease experts, due to social distancing and masking mandates put in place during a resurgent third wave of COVID-19. But this upcoming year presents another opportunity for a pandemic-epidemic overlap.

In the second segment of an interview with Contagion, study author Dr. Raja Rajaran, Medical Affairs Led of EMEA at Seqirus, discussed the need for clinical and public health preparedness against a winter flu surge.

“The problem is we’ll never know until the surge, so people are starting to recognize from a public health standpoint that we should be prepared, and we should continue the vaccination updates,” he explained.

Rajaran also discussed the fascinating, nearly-identical crossover of standard COVID-19 and flu risk populations—which certainly helps to simplify vaccination target groups for the upcoming flu season. He added though, the effects of COVID-19 and flu in children is significant, and requires its own attention in preventive measures.