URBANA — Local health officials are calling on more people to be vaccinated against the flu in preparation for the potentially cruel next flu season.
Responses to influenza vaccination clinics in the region have been declining this year, but Christie Clinic has another Saturday left and authorities are hoping for good turnout.
According to Karl’s Chief Medical Quality Officer, Dr. Robert Healy, Karl Health’s flu immunization clinics in several communities in the region will end for next season and serve only about half of last year’s patients. It was not possible to provide it.
Responses to influenza vaccination clinics last year were very high, probably due to the widespread threat of double-hits from influenza and COVID-19 and the potential burden on hospitals. Healy said.
The threat of a resurgence of influenza combined with COVID-19 infection remains a concern, but he said there was not much discussion about it this year.
Christie Clinic planned 12 drive-through flu clinics this fall, but had to cancel one due to the weather.
“On average, each clinic is slightly below the number of vaccines given last year,” said Christie spokeswoman Melissa Tepovic.
Christie Clinic’s remaining one influenza vaccination clinic operates Saturday from 7am to noon at 1801 W. Windsor Road, C’s Christie facility.
Awais Vaid, Deputy Director of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, said his agency does not have the proper mechanism to track the number of people vaccinated against the flu locally.
“It’s very important that people get the flu shot this year,” Vaid said. “Last year’s flu season was so mild that there are concerns that it could get worse this year. Especially those with underlying illnesses and the elderly should be vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible. I don’t want you to be in a situation where you get the flu and COVID at the same time. That can be very worrisome. “
Healy said more people could ask pharmacies to get the flu shot after getting the COVID-19 vaccine this year.
Karl encourages people who have not yet been vaccinated against the flu to look for a flu shot at a pharmacy. Karl can also combine a doctor’s appointment for another purpose with a flu shot.
It’s possible that fewer people have been vaccinated against the flu this year, as Healy said last season was calm for people who avoided distance learning, working from home, wearing masks and avoiding rallies. ..
But with the exception of masks, those same safeguards have not been implemented this year, Healy said.
“Usually in the community we’ve seen the flu spread to school-age children and they bring the flu home,” he said.
According to Healy, wearing a mask that helps protect against COVID-19 should provide some protection from the flu. However, he said it was also very important to get the flu vaccine and resume preventative measures such as frequent hand washing and coughing and sneezing cover.
COVID-19 continues to strain the healthcare system, but it will never go away, Healy said.
With the addition of many flu hospitalizations, “the pressure on the system will definitely increase, so vaccination is very important,” he said.
For those who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu, and who still need flu shot and COVID-19 booster, it is safe to have both at the same time, Healy said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the next flu season could be tough due to the lack of mitigation measures being implemented following the record decline in influenza infections last year and weakened immunity. I have.
The CDC advises almost everyone over the age of 6 months to be vaccinated against the flu by the end of October.
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