Which of your patients most need a flu shot?

Flu Targets

Target high-risk populations in your vaccine marketing 

In brief:

  • Yearly flu shots are recommended for almost everyone
  • Being vaccinated for the flu is especially important for groups with specific risks
  • Identify at-risk patients to target your pharmacy’s flu vaccine outreach efforts

Healthcare experts suggest that almost everyone receive a yearly flu shot. But as a country, America is only about halfway there, as only about 50% of the population gets a flu shot annually.

This provides an opportunity for pharmacies — to vaccinate those who need vaccinations but don’t regularly receive them.

Prioritizing your outreach

Because so many people need to receive vaccinations, the opportunities are abundant. But consider prioritizing and focusing your vaccination outreach activities on those who need vaccinations the most. These include patients with the highest risks, including these patient groups:

  • Families with babies. Surround babies with a blanket of immunity. Because children younger than 6 months cannot receive the flu vaccine, it is particularly important that their families and caregivers are protected. In October, before flu season begins, remind folks who may have ignored earlier messages that they need the shot at least two weeks before heading to Thanksgiving dinner and other family gatherings for full protection.
  • Preschoolers. Before the age of 5 children are particularly vulnerable to serious complications from the flu including1:
    • Dehydration
    • Sinus and ear infections
    • Pneumonia
    • Brain dysfunction
    • Worsening of conditions such as asthma and heart disease

    Remember: Some young children may need two doses, such as if it is their first time receiving the flu vaccine.

  • Teens. The older the child, the less likely she is to receive a flu vaccine. But she still needs one. While the overall vaccine rate for children was nearly 58% in 2017–18, for those aged 13–17 it was less than 48%.2
  • Expectant mothers. Don’t wait until the baby arrives. Even women who are planning to become pregnant during flu season should receive the vaccine. Changes in their bodies can make these women more susceptible to severe illness from the flu. And when you protect the mom, the baby receives antibodies, too.
  • Seniors. At least half of flu-related hospitalizations and up to 90% of deaths from the flu are among patients aged 65 or older.3 Remember, the vaccine not only helps prevent the flu, it also reduces the severity. This is also a good time to check whether seniors have had the pneumonia vaccine.

    Check patients with chronic conditions

    Patients with chronic conditions such as those below may be at particular risk if they get the flu:

    • Asthma
    • Extreme obesity
    • Neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions, including seizure disorders, stroke and developmental delays
    • Heart and lung diseases
    • Blood and endocrine disorders, including diabetes mellitus
    • Kidney and liver disorders
    • Metabolic disorders
    • Weakened immune systems
    • People younger than 19 on long-term aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications
    Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


  • Ethnic groups. Particular racial or ethnic groups may be at increased risk for the flu. For example, the CDC says that American Indian and Alaskan Native children are more likely to experience severe illness with the flu.
  • Concentrated populations. Long-term care facilities are natural places to target for immunizations, but so are other facilities where large groups of people interact. Reach out to childcare facilities, schools, colleges, workplaces, and even military bases to offer a flu shot clinic.

Focusing on high-risk groups can help you target marketing and other outreach to ensure the most vulnerable members of your community also are the best protected from flu. Check the Marketing Hub on myHealthmart.com for marketing materials, including outreach letters, flyers and Facebook ad campaigns.

1 “Children and Influenza,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 19, 2019. LINK
2 “Estimates of Flu Vaccination Coverage among Children — United States, 2017–18 Flu Season,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Oct. 5, 2018. LINK
3 “People 65 Years and Older & Influenza,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Feb. 12, 2019. LINK