Mission: To save lives and reduce hospitalizations by protecting children, families, and communities against influenza.
Insights on Influenza
  • Expert Commentary

Protecting Our Families Amidst Unanswered Questions

Charlotte Moser quote about vaccines
Posted on April 13, 2021
Share this article:

Charlotte A. Moser is the assistant director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She is the co-author of Vaccines and Your Child: Separating Fact from Fiction.

It has been a challenging year to be a vaccine scientist and communicator. As assistant director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, I already have vaccines on my mind all the time. We work with organizations like Families Fighting Flu to educate parents about the power of vaccines to protect their families from devastating diseases, including influenza.

The pandemic made vaccines a normal part of everyday conversations almost overnight. Last summer, we launched CovidVaccineAnswers.org in anticipation of the many questions people would have about COVID-19 vaccines — while they were being studied and after they became available. Today, we continue to address questions from people around the world and anticipate doing so for many months to come. But as questions have continued to pour in, one thing has become clear — messaging around the need to get a flu vaccine will be tougher than usual in the coming year.

COVID-19 has complicated things when it comes to influenza. First, we’ve had an unusually mild flu season and we can’t necessarily predict what that means for next flu season in terms of individual susceptibility. Second, record low influenza infection rates for 2020-2021 season have impacted the predictive models used to create vaccines for the 2021-2022 season. Third, we’re also concerned that an existing apathy toward “the flu” is being worsened by the comparison of pandemic COVID-19 with seasonal influenza.  Perhaps the only thing we know for sure is that, as with every flu season, we don’t know exactly what to expect.

The scientific community continues working to answer big questions around COVID-19, including when or if we need to get additional COVID-19 vaccinations, what the winter will look like when SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and influenza are co-circulating in communities that have fully reopened, and if the COVID-19 and flu vaccines can be bundled, or co-administered, if necessary.

Given that we are faced with ongoing uncertainties some people wonder what they can do. Well, it is more important than ever to rely on what we do know and control what we can. Flu vaccines work and are safe. COVID-19 vaccines work and are safe. As such, we need to ensure that we protect our family members against influenza and COVID-19. Likewise, given that rates of childhood immunizations fell during the shutdowns, it is more critical than ever for parents to make sure their kids are up to date on all vaccines — because even worse than flu and COVID-19 both causing illness this winter would be flu, COVID-19, AND other vaccine-preventable diseases, like measles and chickenpox, spreading rampantly through our communities.

We also need parents and community members to continue asking questions and working together to find solutions that keep businesses open and neighbors healthy during outbreaks, stay alert to the changing flu and COVID-19 environment, and remain flexible.

It is hard to be more than one year into an environment with so many unknowns. But I do find hope in this experience. The entire world is interested in vaccines and seeking information. We’ve had the opportunity to touch a lot of people in the last year by answering their COVID-19-related questions, so I’m hopeful that people who may have previously been unsure about the safety of or need for vaccines, particularly the flu vaccine, now feel more comfortable that vaccines are both safe and effective. And I am hopeful that this lived knowledge will translate into higher vaccination rates not only for flu vaccine, but for all vaccines. Because one thing we have learned is that vaccines can — and do — save lives.

You might also be interested in...

Flu Essentials: Navigating the Influenza Season with Confidence Part I
text reading black history month
Celebrating Black Health Heroes Fighting Flu
woman getting vaccine
Is It Safe to Get Vaccinated at Pharmacies?
Stay Informed
Sign up for our Weekly Flu News and quarterly newsletter, Fighting Influenza, to stay up-to-date on the latest flu news.


You are required to accept all of the terms and conditions in this License Agreement in order to receive a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, royalty-free license to use the FAMILIES FIGHTING FLU, INC. logo, displayed below (the “FFF Logo”), from Families Fighting Flu, Inc. (“FFF”). In order to accept these terms and conditions, you must click the “I Accept” button below.

  1. FFF hereby grants to you, and you accept, a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, royalty-free license to use the FFF Logo, which you may download and use solely in online and print earned media publications for a period of no more than six (6) months in the United States.
  2. You acknowledge that the FFF Logo is a valid trademark; that FFF is the sole owner of the FFF Logo; and that FFF retains all right, title, and interest in and to the FFF Logo. You agree that any and all use that you make of the FFF Logo, and any and all goodwill arising from your use of the FFF Logo, shall inure exclusively to the benefit of FFF.  You also agree that you shall not challenge the validity of the FFF Logo or FFF’s ownership or title thereto during the term of the License Agreement or thereafter.
  3. You agree that you shall use the FFF Logo only in the form shown above, and that you shall not alter, modify, change, or edit the FFF Logo in any manner.
  4. You acknowledge the valuable goodwill and reputation in the FFF Logo, and that it is essential that the high standards and reputation associated with the FFF Logo be maintained. You therefore agree to use the FFF Logo consistent with the highest standards of quality so as to protect and maintain the FFF Logo and FFF’s rights therein.
  5. FFF shall have the right to review and inspect your use of the FFF Logo at any time. FFF, in its sole discretion, may determine that you are not using the FFF Logo in an acceptable manner and require that you discontinue your use of the FFF Logo.  To the extent that FFF requires that you discontinue your use of the FFF Logo, you agree that you shall remove the FFF Logo from all online and print earned media publications as soon as practicable under the circumstances, and that you shall not use the FFF at any time in the future.
  6. You must include the following notice in connection with any use of the FFF Logo: “The Families Fighting Flu, Inc. logo is the registered trademark of Families Fighting Flu, Inc.”
I Accept