Blog Post - National Influenza Week: CONSTANT Promotes Nationwide Call to Action. Insights by Ali Leis, MPH. CONSTANT's Health Secuirty Sr. Associate.

National Influenza Vaccination Week: CONSTANT Promotes Nationwide Call to Action

We join healthcare organizations across the U.S. to observe National Influenza Vaccination Week this week. National Influenza Vaccination Week is recognized to encourage those six months and older to get a flu vaccine.


Last year’s ‘Tripledemic’ of respiratory diseases posed severe challenges for the healthcare system, and it is estimated that influenza virus infections alone “resulted in 31 million symptomatic illnesses, 14 million medical visits, 360,000 hospitalizations, and 21,000 deaths” in the U.S. This year, the CDC anticipates that the fall and winter respiratory disease season will result in a similar number of hospitalizations as last season, which are higher than seasons before the pandemic. Furthermore, surveillance data and hospital admission forecasts have captured increased activity, and experts expect this trend to continue throughout December. Each of these factors spotlight why it is important for community members to be vaccinated against influenza to prevent illness or severe complications, reduce healthcare burden, and contribute to wider community protection.


Health misinformation has been exacerbated following the COVID-19 pandemic and is a significant threat to public health,” says Ali Leis, MPH, CONSTANT’s Health Security Senior Associate. “As we navigate the post-pandemic landscape and perceptions about flu, influenza vaccination campaigns led by the local community, including both healthcare and non-healthcare organizations, are powerful tools to address misconceptions, reinforce the importance of vaccination, promote equity and mitigate health disparities, and prevent the spread of influenza within the local population.


As your organization organizes for and encourages flu vaccination this week and beyond, review the following tips to maximize efforts:


Use a Targeted Communications Approach to Encourage Vaccination

Many barriers can contribute to lower vaccination rates, and identifying and addressing these barriers is a critical step to increasing the number of people who are vaccinated. Healthcare organizations, including local public health departments, physician offices, community health centers, and pharmacies, along with non-healthcare partners like employers, educational institutions, media outlets, and insurance providers, each play pivotal roles in how many people are vaccinated against influenza. These organizations should tailor communications, outreach, and campaigns to respond to their followers’ concerns. This may include:


  • Providing information and messages to resonate with different age groups, ethnicities, occupations, socioeconomic backgrounds, individuals with specific medical or health conditions, etc. Messages can be targeted at groups who are at higher risk of flu complications, like adults 65 years and older, people who are pregnant, and adults with chronic health conditions or those who experience a high rate of flu illness, like school-aged children.
  • Crafting educational campaigns that address common misconceptions and myths about the influenza vaccine. This may include information about side effects, risks vs. benefits, timing of vaccination, and more. Educational campaigns should be delivered to an audience by an organization or person who is appropriate based on the audience and their beliefs. For example, while some rely on their physician for medical advice, others may better receive information that comes from government health agencies, pharmacy staff, community organizations, influencers, family members, employers, schools and universities, workplaces, and more. The best messenger may not be someone in a lab coat, and for many, trusted community members may be far more influential in sharing information and resources and encouraging actions.
  • Using multiple platforms and mediums to disseminate information. This could include patient reminder messages, social media messages, printable posters, newsletters, blogs, mobile apps, in-person events, SMS alerts, employee portals, school announcements, radio, television, newspapers and magazines, and much more.

Forge Partnerships Between LHDs and Healthcare Organizations, Businesses, Schools, and Community Organizations

Partnerships play a crucial role in promoting influenza vaccination. As healthcare organizations seek to strengthen the reach, effectiveness, and impact of vaccination campaigns, partnerships between LHDs, healthcare organizations, businesses, schools, community organizations, and more can lead to pooled resources and expertise, increased access to services, and enhanced community outreach. These partnerships can facilitate:


  • Reaching underserved populations and those with limited access to healthcare facilities. There have been multiple studies and research articles that study correlations between factors like income or race and influenza vaccination. Forging partnerships with community organizations, pharmacies, and healthcare providers can expand access to vaccination services.
  • Leveraging existing networks for efficient dissemination of vaccination services. Local health departments traditionally have relationships with established networks like schools, workplaces, and religious institutions, many of which had to be reinforced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using these resources to provide vaccinations can help to expand convenience and accessibility, use networks with existing communications channels, allow for efficient use of resources, and prevent outbreaks in places like schools and workplaces. These partnerships can aid in reducing barriers of all kinds, including transportation challenges, lack of access, missing time at work, and childcare coverage. The easier it is to get a vaccination, the more people who will be encouraged to do so.
  • Facilitating sharing data and information between entities to monitor vaccination rates, identify trends, and respond to public health challenges.

Apply COVID-19 Lessons Learned to Influenza Preparedness Strategies

Public health preparedness and response efforts have focused on COVID-19 over the last several years. The public health and healthcare fields have made strides in strengthening posture for infectious diseases because of best practices and lessons learned that have emerged from the pandemic. Yet, as COVID-19 wanes and becomes less disruptive, professionals look ahead to the next pandemic and warn that the forward motion and advancements experienced need to be expanded, not waned. Traditionally, movement slows following a pandemic or infectious disease outbreak which poses inconsistency and inadequacy. As experts warn that future pandemics could be caused by influenza viruses in addition to coronaviruses, lessons learned from COVID-19 can be prioritized such as:


  • Building community trust to improve the implementation of interventions. This includes also combatting mis- and dis-information related to vaccine literacy and hesitancy that threatens the trust between healthcare and the community.
  • Enhancing vaccination tracking to be able to identify areas where there is low influenza vaccination access or coverage and adequately address it using community resources.

Next Steps

CONSTANT provides expertise in medical countermeasures, influenza and pandemic preparedness, points of dispensing, and more. CONSTANT can provide your organization with health security planning, training, exercises, and outreach. Contact us today at for more information.



CONSTANT is an award-winning consultancy focused on executing our mission of making the world a safer place. We are an 8(a)-certified and Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Business (EDWOSB) with a long history of helping clients across all levels of government and the private sector prepare for catastrophic disasters and emerging threats. Our core areas of expertise include emergency management, counterterrorism, health security, and healthcare preparedness. Across those areas, we provide planning, training, exercise, outreach and staffing services. We are deeply committed to delivering superior customer service, providing a platform for our team members to thrive and prosper, and embodying our signature entrepreneurial spirit and core values. Learn more about CONSTANT here.