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MEDIA ADVISORY: Flu Vaccines Are More Important This Year Due to COVID-19

September 17, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Flu Vaccines Are More Important This Year Due to COVID-19 

FLORENCE, Ky. — The Northern Kentucky Health Department is strongly urging all Northern Kentucky residents to get their flu shot as soon as possible this year. Vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu and its potentially serious complications. It takes approximately two weeks after vaccination to build up enough immunity to fight off the flu virus.

“This year it is more important than ever to receive a flu vaccine,” commented NKY Health’s District Director of Health, Lynne Saddler, MD, MPH, “With both COVID-19 and flu circulating this fall and winter, we all need to get vaccinated against the flu now to protect ourselves and people around us. In addition, getting vaccinated can help to protect our health care system from becoming overwhelmed with caring for those who may become seriously ill from either COVID-19 or seasonal flu.”

Symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 can be similar and may include but are not limited to fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and tiredness. Go to https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm for more information on the similarities and differences between the flu and COVID-19.

Flu shots are available in our region now, and Medicaid, Medicare and most private health insurance providers cover flu vaccination as a preventive service. You can visit your health care provider, or the many pharmacies and clinics in Northern Kentucky offering the flu shot.

Current strategies that are being used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also play an important role in preventing seasonal flu. These include washing your hands frequently with soap and water, wearing a face covering whenever you are in public, maintaining social distancing of six feet, and avoiding others if you do get sick.

During the last flu season, 7,235 cases of the flu and 7 flu-associated deaths were reported in Northern Kentucky through the end of February 2020, but this does not predict how this year’s season will be, as every year is different. According to Lynne Saddler, MD, MPH, “Even if you had the flu shot last year, you need another flu shot to protect you from the flu virus strains that will be circulating this year.”

 

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The Northern Kentucky Health Department provides high-quality public health services to more than 400,000 residents of Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton Counties, with a goal of preventing disease, promoting wellness and protecting against health threats. The Health Department seeks to be a nationwide leader in public health and was one of the first in the country to earn national public health accreditation. For more information, visit www.nkyhealth.org.