May – July: Evaluate your pre-book order again considering your health system's needs and make sure you've ordered enough. Now is the time to order more if you'll need it. Kilgour also recommended using this time to "finalize your vaccination strategy and clinic dates."
July – October: This is when the FDA approves and releases a year's flu vaccine, and if you've pre-booked, this is when you'll receive your product. It's also the time to begin giving vaccinations. Continue to evaluate your needs and make sure you've accurately ordered the correct supply.
October – December: "Forecasting for the next pre-book begins by determining the success of the current season and opportunities for improving in the next," Kilgour said. Even if you're still vaccinating, you should also be digging into the data and seeing how successful you were with ordering product and getting your patient population protected.
And though a flu pandemic is relatively rare, proper planning includes preparing for the worst-case scenario. The CDC offers a Hospital Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist that can help you improve your pandemic preparedness.
You can't predict exactly how each flu season will unfold, but you can control how well you handle it and how prepared you are for the next one. Put a plan into place that effectively allows you to track and evaluate your hospital's flu response so that no matter what the flu season throws at you, you're ready for it.
And if it feels like an endless fight, take solace in the fact that relief is coming—researchers are fast at work developing long-lasting and universal flu vaccines that could keep patients safe from the flu longer and more effectively.