(Washington, DC – The DC Department of Health (DC Health) encourages residents six months and older to get an annual influenza (flu) vaccination by the end of October to reduce the chance of getting the flu and spreading it to others.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 will likely continue into the fall and winter and may overlap with the flu season.
“Catching the flu and COVID-19 at the same time can make you very ill,” said Dr. Ankoor Shah, Medical Officer overseeing Influenza and COVID-19 Vaccine initiatives at DC Health. “This means getting a flu vaccine now is more important than ever,” he added.
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.
No two flu seasons are alike, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year.
In the District of Columbia, typically 30-35 percent of its residents get an annual flu shot and during 2015-2018, the number of annual District resident deaths due to Influenza, or Pneumonia, ranged between 78 and 104 deaths annually.
Flu vaccines are very safe and the vaccine is available now at many private health care providers, free clinics and pharmacies.
In addition to offering flu shots to those aged 12 years and over at the District’s Judiciary Square COVID-19 testing site (F Street, NW between 4th & 5th Streets), DC Health has partnered with CVS Pharmacy to offer flu shots at the following COVID-19 firehouse testing sites from October 5–30, 2020:
- Engine 4 (2531 Sherman Avenue, NW), Engine 24 (5101 Georgia Avenue, NW) and Engine 31(4930 Connecticut Avenue, NW) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
- Engine 8 (1520 C Street, SE), Engine 30 (50 49th Street, NE) and Engine 33 (101 Atlantic Street, SE) on Tuesdays and Thursdays
Residents should bring their government issued ID and insurance card (Pharmacy card, if applicable). Veterans can receive a flu vaccine at no cost.
“While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, it will keep you from getting sick with the flu and protect people around you, especially those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, seniors, and people with certain chronic health conditions,” said Dr. Shah.
Flu viruses are constantly changing, so flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the viruses that will be common during the upcoming flu season. Yearly vaccination is needed for the best protection.
The steps to protect yourself from the flu and COVID-19: Wash your hands, stay away from those who are sick, and this season most importantly, wear a mask.
DC Health has launched its annual “Spread Love! Not the Flu” campaign to increase public awareness regarding the importance of getting a yearly flu vaccination. To find a flu location near you, visit: https://vaccinefinder.org.
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