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Illinois health officials stress importance of getting flu shot amid COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 4:10 PM CDT
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Ill. (KWQC) - Health officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health are stressing the importance of getting a flu shot during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every year the flu affects millions of Americans, hospitalizing hundreds of thousands and killing tens of thousands according to Illinois health officials.

This season, in addition to flu, we are battling COVID-19,” health officials said in a release. "We have already seen almost 7 million Americans confirmed with COVID-19, hundreds of thousands hospitalized, and more than 200,000 deaths.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director, Dr. Ngozi Ezike said it is “critical" that residents in Illinois get their flu shots.

“Flu and COVID-19 each can cause serious respiratory illness and co-infection could possibly lead to more severe illnesses, hospitalization, and even death," Ezike said. "While a vaccine for COVID-19 is still in development, a vaccine for flu already exists and is your best protection against flu.  The choice is yours, but I urge you to not risk co-infection of two potentially deadly viruses.  Please try and protect yourself and the people around you by getting the flu vaccine, which has been proven over the years to be safe and effective.”

They recommend that everyone six months of age and older get the seasonal flu vaccine.  The vaccine is available in either a flu shot, or in a nasal spray. 

More information on the types of flu vaccine can be found on the CDC website.

In addition to getting your flu vaccine, IDPH recommends following the 3 W’s for both COVID-19 and influenza.

- Wash your hands

- Watch your distance

- Wear your mask

To find a location to get a flu shot in your community, check with your health care provider or local health department.  You can also use the online Vaccine Finder.  More information about influenza can be found on the IDPH website at www.dph.illinois.gov.  More information about COVID-19 can be found at www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19, including where you can get tested.

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