FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 5, 2022
Milwaukee Health Department Urges Residents to Get Vaccinated this Flu Season
MILWAUKEE – Every year, as temperatures drop and Milwaukeeans head indoors, influenza (flu) cases begin to rise. While it’s difficult to predict the exact timing of peak flu cases each year, the virus typically circulates heavily in fall and winter months. To protect yourself against the flu, the Milwaukee Health Department strongly encourages everyone six months and older to get their flu vaccine this fall.
During the 2021/2022 flu season, 38% of Milwaukee County residents received their flu shot. The immunization goal, set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2030 initiative, is to increase the flu vaccination rate to 70% nationwide. In an effort to reach this goal, the Milwaukee Health Department has free flu shots, available without an appointment or proof of insurance, at the Northwest Health Center (7630 W. Mill Road), Southside Health Center (1639 S. 23rd Street), and Menomonee Valley Drive-Thru (2401 W. St. Paul Avenue).
“For many, the flu leaves you feeling wiped out and miserable. But for some, it is very serious and potentially fatal,” said Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson. “The best way to stay healthy and protect those you come in contact with is to get your annual flu shot. Taking the time to get vaccinated now can save your sick time and even save a life.”
Recent studies show being vaccinated against the flu reduces the risk of flu illness by 40 to 60-percent among the overall population. While some people who get a flu vaccine still get sick, vaccination can make their illness less severe, reducing overall hospitalization rates and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions during hospitalizations.
Not only does vaccinating against influenza keep you healthy, it can protect those around you, which is especially important for people at higher risk for serious complications, including:
- Pregnant people
- Young children
- People 65 years and older, especially those living in group settings
- People with certain medical conditions, such as asthma or heart disease
In addition to your annual flu vaccine, it’s important to take other measures to keep yourself and family healthy this flu season. Regularly cover your coughs and sneezes, wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and clean surfaces that may be contaminated with flu viruses. These everyday actions can help reduce your chances of getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others if you are sick.
While flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, they are caused by two different viruses and require two different vaccines. Both vaccines are safe, effective, and able to be administered at the same time. Just like the COVID-19 vaccine, the flu vaccine does not inject live viruses into your body, so you cannot get the flu from the vaccine. Save time by getting the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine or updated booster together.
In addition to the Milwaukee Health Department Clinics, many other pharmacies, healthcare providers, and local health departments also have flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines and boosters available. Visit vaccines.gov, HealthyMKE.com, or contact your local health department to find an immunization clinic near you.