The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is urging the public to get a flu vaccine this season to keep themselves and others safe and out of hospitals still overwhelmed by the state’s fifth wave of COVID-19.
As most people return to in-person school or work, the flu may be more rampant this year, according to the Department of Health.
“Preventing the spread of flu will be critical in the months to come because it will reduce additional strain on our hospitals, which are currently extremely stressed due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, chief science officer for the DOH, in a news release. “If you haven’t received your flu vaccine yet, now is the perfect time. It will help protect you, your family and friends, and your community as we get back to doing the things we love.”
Everyone older than six months of age should get an annual flu vaccine, according to the release. Young children, pregnant people, folks with underlying health conditions and people ages 65 and older are at higher risk of flu-related complications. Even in people who are young and healthy, the flu is a highly contagious disease that can cause mild to severe illness and can lead to hospitalization and death.
For children, the flu is more dangerous than the common cold, the DOH said. In Washington, the flu shot and all recommended childhood vaccines are available at no cost for children through age 18. For weekly flu activity reports, educational materials, vaccine information and other flu prevention resources, visit www.KnockOutFlu.org.
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