Get your COVID and flu shots

Protections in place last winter against COVID-19 also played a major role in greatly reducing the number of flu deaths. Vaccines against both are encouraged to help stem the tide again this winter.

By

Lifestyle

September 27, 2021 - 9:20 AM

The 2020-2021 flu season saw a 96% drop in total flu deaths compared to the 2019-2020 flu season. Last year, there were two deaths where flu was the contributing cause of death and four deaths where flu was the direct cause of death. In the 2019-29 flu season, 23 deaths where flu was the contributing cause and 118 deaths where flu was the direct cause. There was also a drastic decrease in strep and other contagious illnesses during the 20-21 season as well.

What were we doing differently to see such a dramatic decrease in fatalities? Many of us were wearing masks, social distancing, using better hygiene, staying home and getting our flu shot. With COVID-19 still being actively transmitted in our communities, I encourage our residents to continue to wear a mask in large gatherings, socially distance, use good hygiene, stay home when you are sick, get vaccinated for COVID-19 (if eligible) and for the flu.

Getting the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine helps to protect you, your family, and your community against the flu and COVID-19 during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The flu shot does not cause the flu. The COVID-19 vaccine does not cause COVID-19. Some people may have a mild reaction after getting their vaccine, but this does not mean they’ve contracted the flu or COVID-19.

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) recommended that the quadrivalent formulation of egg-based influenza vaccines for the U.S. 2021-2022 influenza season contain the following:

an A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus;

an A/Cambodia e0826 360/2020 (H3N2)-like virus;

a B/Washington/02/2019 – like virus (B/Victoria lineage);

a B/Phuket/3073/2013 like virus (B/Yamagata lineage). 

The committee recommended that the quadrivalent formulation of cell- or recombinant based influenza vaccines for the U.S. 2021-2022 influenza season contain the following:

an A/Wisconsin588/2019 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus;

an A/Cambodia/e08263 60/2020 (H3N2)-like virus;

a B/Washington/02/ 2019- like virus (B/Victoria lineage);

a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage).

Children aged 6 months through 8 years require two doses of the flu vaccine IF they have not received two or more doses of the flu vaccine four or more weeks apart before July 1, 2021. Two doses are recommended even if the child turns 9 between dose 1 and 2. Otherwise, this age group would only require one dose. Adults and children aged 9 years or older need only one dose of flu vaccine. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older, with rare exceptions, get a flu shot every year.

You may receive the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine on the same day. Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is approved for 12 years and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are for 18 years and older. By getting vaccinated, you can help slow the spread!

Our four health departments in Allen, Anderson, Bourbon and Woodson Counties are all carrying the flu vaccine, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine. Mondays are walk-in days, but otherwise someone wanting a vaccine would need to call for an appointment. Some of our offices will be going out to do flu clinics soon, so if you don’t catch us, please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible. Allen (620) 365-2191; Anderson (785) 448-6559; Bourbon (620) 223-4464; Woodson (620) 625-2484.

Because flu cases have begun to pop up in the United States and COVID-19 cases are somewhat staying steady or climbing, if you or your children start showing symptoms, please stay home from work and school/daycare. I also recommend getting tested if symptomatic. There have been several COVID-19 school/daycare cases in our region recently when the parent thought the child just had allergies, sent the child to school/daycare and then spread COVID-19 to other children. If you’re a parent and have not had a child in isolation or quarantine yet, consider yourself blessed, for many reasons, and do your part to prevent others from having to as well.  

The KDHE reports this week (9/22/21) that there have been 5,919 deaths from COVID-19 and over 400,000 cases of COVID-19 in Kansas since March of 2020. So, that’s approximately 98% more deaths from COVID-19 in Kansas than from the flu within the last two flu seasons combined. Please do your part to prevent both of these illnesses. Wear a mask in large gatherings, social distance, use good hygiene, stay home when sick and get vaccinated for COVID-19 (if eligible) and for the flu!

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