Kalamazoo County Healthcare partners urge residents to get a flu vaccine
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to protect against respiratory illness.
Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services urges residents to protect themselves and others from the influenza virus by getting vaccinated against the flu. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to protect against respiratory illness.
Kalamazoo County Health, along with partners Ascension Borgess Hospital, Bronson Healthcare, Family Health Center and WMED Health, recommend that anyone over 6 months old get the flu shot. Certain at risk groups, including young children, pregnant women, adults with chronic health conditions, or adults over 50, are especially encouraged to get vaccinated.
Influenza is a serious respiratory illness that typically occurs starting in October and can last as late as May. It typically takes about two weeks for the flu shot to provide full protection, so it is recommended to get vaccinated before the holiday season begins.
Getting a flu vaccine this fall is especially important because it could help save scarce medical resources needed to care for people with COVID-19.
"With COVID-19 still spreading, getting the flu shot is more important than ever to stay healthy. The influenza vaccine is a safe and effective way to reduce illness, school or work absences, hospital stays, and death due to the flu. The more people are protected from the flu, the more hospital beds and testing supplies can be available during the COVID-19 pandemic. This further protects yourself, your family, and your community,” said William Nettleton, Medical Director for Kalamazoo County.
Kalamazoo County Health, Ascension Borgess Hospital, Bronson Healthcare, Family Health Center and WMED Health are launching a Flu Vaccine Campaign in hopes of reaching a 33 percent increase in the number of people getting the vaccine in Kalamazoo County. Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department will add a flu vaccine tracker to the Kalamazoo County Data Hub to allow residents to track the number of flu vaccines given out and the coverage rate in comparison to the last flu season.
Symptoms of influenza are similar to COVID-19, this includes: fever or feeling feverish/chilled, body aches, cough, sore throat, or fatigue. Preventive actions recommended to reduce the risk of COVID-19, like social distancing and wearing a face-mask may help to reduce flu transmission, but it is still important to get the flu vaccine.
Residents can receive a flu vaccine at area pharmacies and through their family doctor’s office. The Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department offers flu vaccinations by appointment only Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Residents can stop the spread of the flu, by follow these simple steps.
1. Stay home when you are sick, which will help prevent others from catching your illness.
2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
3. Clean your hands often, with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
4. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.