Report by Paula Antolini, September 24, 2020, 5:38PM EDT
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is announcing today the state of influenza vaccination clinics in Connecticut for the coming flu season and is encouraging people in the state to get vaccinated for the flu as soon as possible.
This is coupled with a message from the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that residents “mask up, lather up and sleeve up” this fall. Wearing a mask, cleaning hands often, and getting a flu shot early are key to staying protected from the flu and COVID-19 in the coming months. Flu vaccination contains no direct protection against COVID-19, but can significantly lessen flu symptoms. Severe influenza illness can leave the immune system vulnerable to dangerous viral infections such as COVID-19.
“While it is not certain what will happen in the fall and winter, CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading,” Acting Public Health Commissioner Dr. Deidre S. Gifford said. “In this context, getting a flu vaccine as early as possible will be more important than ever. Additionally, we don’t want to overload the healthcare system if there is a surge of both influenza and COVID-19 at the same time.”
The Department of Public Health strongly encourages all Connecticut residents to make plans to get a flu vaccine before flu viruses begin spreading in communities. The CDC recommends that both adults and children get vaccinated against influenza. It is also important to vaccinate children as part of keeping schools safe and healthy and preventing spread of flu to adults. It takes about two weeks after vaccination to develop protection in the body against the flu.
For a listing of local health department clinics, click here. If the local health department in your area does not have flu vaccine, check with health care providers or pharmacies to see if the flu vaccine is available. To find a nearby pharmacy, visit the HealthMap Vaccine Finder at vaccinefinder.org or visit Medfinder at medfinder.org.
In the 2019-2020 flu season, the Connecticut Department of Public Health reported a total of 3,013 persons hospitalized due to flu complications and 79 flu-associated deaths, including one pediatric death. Every flu season is different, and influenza can affect people differently. Each year in the U.S., millions of people get sick from the flu, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized, and thousands of people die from influenza or influenza related causes. An annual flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against influenza disease.