Health officials want to prevent the spread of the flu during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the flu season begins and communities continue to combat the COVID-19 virus, public health officials stress that getting the flu vaccine is more important than ever this year. By getting vaccinated, you can prevent one respiratory virus, the flu, from circulating at the same time as another respiratory virus, COVID-19.
- Being protected against flu through vaccination is important because health care resources are limited due to the pandemic, and COVID-19 continues to spread.
- The flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19. It will reduce your chances of getting sick or being hospitalized from flu.
- By reducing flu hospitalizations, we will help support our health care systems so we can all get the care we need.
In Wisconsin’s 2019-2020 flu season, there were 36,175 flu cases reported, 4,425 flu-related hospitalizations, and tragically, 183 deaths, including three children, and the highest number of pregnant people hospitalized for flu. While these statistics are alarming, a combination of flu and COVID-19 cases could result in even more severe illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths this year, and put additional strain on Wisconsin’s health care providers working to care for today’s COVID patients.
- Getting a flu vaccine will not only help you and those around you stay healthy, but will also help reduce the strain on health care systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Flu and COVID-19 viruses cause similar respiratory illnesses that spread easily from person-to-person, but are caused by different viruses.
- They have similar symptoms such as fever, tiredness, and cough, which can lead to misdiagnosis.
Health care providers all across Wisconsin are making sure that you can get vaccinated in a safe and convenient way, whether at a special vaccination drive in a nearby church or supermarket parking lot, curbside at your doctor’s office, or at a socially distanced vaccine appointment inside a clinic or pharmacy. Safety precautions related to COVID-19 also include sanitizing at clinics, temperature taking, and special scheduling.
- The flu vaccine is safe and the best way to protect yourself and loved ones from getting the flu.
- Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years, and there has been extensive research confirming the safety of flu vaccines.
- You can get vaccinated at your doctor’s office, local pharmacy (CVS, Walgreens), local health department, or at a federally qualified health center.
It is important to protect yourself and your family before the flu starts to spread in your community, which typically happens in the late fall in Wisconsin. Since it takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to protect you against the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), and Richland County Public Health Department recommend that everybody age 6 months and older get a flu vaccine as soon as possible.
- It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to fully work by activating your immune system to build up antibodies that protect you against the virus.
- There are different types of vaccines available, such as options for those with egg allergies and needle-less vaccines.
- Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
Call your health care provider today to make vaccine appointments for yourself and your family. You can also use vaccinefinder.gov to find a provider near you. If the cost of the vaccine is a concern, you or your children may be eligible for free or lower-cost vaccines.
Richland County Public Health Department
221 W. Seminary St.
Richland Center, WI 53581