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Mayor Bowser Encourages All Residents to Get Their Flu Shot and Eligible Residents Their COVID-19 Booster

Monday, October 4, 2021

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser encouraged all residents to receive their annual influenza (flu) vaccination by the end of October and encouraged eligible residents to get their COVID-19 booster.

“It’s not just COVID we have to be thinking about because now we’re also in flu season. Whether you need your first, second, or third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you can get it done at the same time as your flu shot,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know our seniors have done a fantastic job getting vaccinated – over 92% of DC residents who are 65 and older are partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Now, a lot of our seniors are eligible for the booster.”

All people six months and older should get their annual flu vaccination by the end of October to reduce the chance of getting the flu and spreading it to others. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death.

Flu vaccines are very safe and the vaccine is available now at many private health care providers, free clinics, and pharmacies in all eight wards.

Eligible residents are also encouraged to get their COVID-19 booster when getting their flu shot. Previously, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had already recommended that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system) receive three doses of a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) rather than two doses. This third dose was recommended because sometimes people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised do not build enough (or any) protection when they first get a vaccination.

Recommendations around booster shots are specific to individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine and who received their second dose at least six months ago.

The CDC now recommends:

  • people 65 years and older should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series;
  • residents 18 years and older in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series;
  • people aged 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series;
  • people 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks; and
  • people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting (e.g., health care, first responders, schools, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, grocery stores, public transit) may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

Residents who received the Pfizer vaccine earlier this year should start making a plan to receive their booster shot. Find your vaccine card or access your vaccine record by visiting myir.dc.gov, call your healthcare provider to discuss your options for a booster, or visit vaccines.gov to find a location near you.

Residents who need support can call 1-855-363-0333. Eligible residents can go to one of the 153 locations around the city that offer the safe, free, and effective COVID-19 vaccines.