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Greene County Health Department urges flu shots this year

From the Greene County Health Department:

As the flu season approaches in the United States, the addition of another respiratory illness on top of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could overburden health care systems, strain testing capacity, and increase the risk of catching both diseases at once.  Even with a mild flu season, the convergence with a COVID surge could very rapidly overwhelm our hospital and clinic systems in and around Greene County.  To that end, the Greene County Health Department urges the community to get flu shots.  

To do so, please call the Greene County Health Department at (812) 384-4496, option 3, to schedule your flu vaccination.  Appointments are available Monday through Friday, 8AM to 4PM, with extended hours on Wednesdays until 6PM.

Unlike COVID-19, the flu is a familiar foe, and a safe and effective vaccine is available every year.  The effectiveness of the flu vaccine1 can range from about 20 percent to 60 percent, depending on how accurately scientists have predicted the circulating flu strains that season.  Effectiveness can also vary from person-to-person, depending on their age and health. Some people who get vaccinated may still get sick; however, flu vaccination has been shown in some studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated should they become infected. 

For both the flu and COVID-19, the elderly and those with underlying conditions are more susceptible, but the flu also hits children particularly hard and spreads readily in schools. The more people in all age groups who get a flu vaccine, the more protected these vulnerable populations will be. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an influenza (flu) vaccine that is appropriate for the recipient’s age and health status: children, working adults, older adults, people with chronic health conditions, and pregnant women.

Another common concern is testing capacity and shortages in the substances, called reagents, needed to run the tests.  The definitive tests for flu use is essentially the same approach that we use for COVID-19 tests.  The same reagents are needed to extract DNA or RNA from samples in both tests. With flu and COVID-19 sharing similar symptoms, the demand for both tests may increase and lead to reagent shortages.

The Greene County Health Department is located at 217 East Spring Street, Suite 1, in Bloomfield.

Featured photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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