DEERFIELD, Ill., December 09, 2020 - Walgreens today launched its Walgreens Flu Index® for the 2020-2021 season to help communities track flu activity in their area and serve as a reminder to get vaccinated against the flu, just in time for National Influenza Vaccination Week Dec. 6 - Dec. 12. With COVID-19 cases continuing to surge across the country, health experts are encouraging flu shots to prevent the spread of two respiratory illnesses circulating at the same time and hospitals reaching capacity.
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“It’s important everyone remain vigilant in getting vaccinated against the flu to reduce the burden on our already strained healthcare system during the pandemic,” said Kevin Ban, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Walgreens. “Even once COVID-19 vaccines are approved, it takes time for them to reach the general population. Flu shots are available today at local Walgreens pharmacies nationwide and something everyone can do to protect their health, and the health of their loved ones.”
The Walgreens Flu Index shows that in the month of November, overall flu activity was low nationwide compared to a normal flu season. Several Texan communities topped the list, with southern markets showing the most widespread flu activity both this flu season and in the 2019-2020 flu season. Many of the same states topped the list during the month of November for both the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 flu seasons, including Nevada, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, New Mexico, Tennessee and Arkansas.
“The unprecedented demand we’ve seen for flu shots this season, along with safety precautions everyone is taking to limit the spread of COVID-19, such as social distancing, wearing facemasks and frequently washing their hands, may be contributing to lower flu activity this season,” added Dr. Ban.
Through the time lapse feature of the Walgreens Flu Index, users can see how current flu activity compares to last season.
Top 10 DMAs with Flu Activity
For the Month of November
- San Angelo, Texas
- Abilene-Sweetwater, Texas
- El Paso, Texas
- Tyler-Longview, Texas
- Las Vegas
- Jackson, Tenn.
- Laredo, Texas
- Alexandria, La.
- Wichita Falls, TX & Lawton, Okla.
- Odessa-Midland, Texas
Top 10 States with Flu Activity
For the Month of November
- New Mexico
- New Jersey
What It Is
The Walgreens Flu Index is an online, interactive tool that ranks the top markets and states for flu activity in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, as well as the top markets and states showing the largest increases in flu activity week-over-week. Users can search by market or state to see where their geographic area ranks for flu activity in any given week, as well as how current flu activity compares to last season. On a weekly basis, we track the incremental change of antiviral medications used to treat influenza across thousands of Walgreens and Duane Reade locations nationwide to create the Walgreens Flu Index.
What It Is Not
The Index is not intended to illustrate levels or severity of flu activity, but rather, based on this methodology, to show which populations are experiencing the highest incidence of influenza within the U.S. and Puerto Rico each week.
Flu Index Frequency
The Walgreens Flu Index is updated weekly each Tuesday and is available through an online, interactive map, linked here.
Behind the Methodology
Data for the Walgreens Flu Index is analyzed at state and geographic market levels to measure absolute impact and incremental change of antiviral medications on a per store average basis, and does not include markets in which Walgreens has fewer than 10 retail locations. Low-high rankings are designated based on a normal flu season, defined by an average of the last five flu seasons nationwide. For example, red regions on the Walgreens Flu Index map indicates a much higher than a normal flu season, while green regions indicate a much lower than normal flu season.
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), a global leader in retail and wholesale pharmacy. As America’s most loved pharmacy, health and beauty company, Walgreens purpose is to champion the health and well-being of every community in America. Operating more than 9,000 retail locations across America, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Walgreens is proud to be a neighborhood health destination serving approximately 8 million customers each day. Walgreens pharmacists play a critical role in the U.S. healthcare system by providing a wide range of pharmacy and healthcare services. To best meet the needs of customers and patients, Walgreens offers a true omnichannel experience, with platforms bringing together physical and digital, supported by the latest technology to deliver high-quality products and services in local communities nationwide.