Michigan health department urges residents to get flu vaccine

State sets goal to get 4 million vaccinated

FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, file photo, a patient receives an influenza vaccine in Mesquite, Texas. Amid all the focus on COVID-19 vaccinations, U.S. health experts have another plea: Dont skip your flu shot. With U.S. schools and businesses reopened, international travel resuming and far less masking this fall, flu is likely to make a comeback. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File) (Lm Otero, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Michigan health officials are urging residents to get the flu vaccine for the upcoming season, setting a goal of vaccinating 4 million Michiganders.

MDHHS said getting a flu vaccine is critical this season because flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will likely be spreading simultaneously. Importantly, residents are able to get their COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as their flu vaccine.

According to the CDC, those who are at higher risk for contracting flu are also at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19. Vaccinations for both COVID-19 and the flu are safe, effective strategies to protect ourselves and our communities from illness.

Each year flu vaccination reduces the burden of influenza significantly in the United States preventing millions of illnesses and thousands of hospitalizations and deaths.

Related: 2 shots: Answering questions about getting COVID, flu vaccines at same time

Last flu season, approximately 3.5 million people in Michigan received a flu vaccine as reported to the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR). The state has set a goal of vaccinating a total of 4 million Michiganders for the 2021-2022 flu season.

“Everyone aged 6 months and up is recommended to receive a flu vaccination with rare exceptions, and we encourage them to do so as soon as possible,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “There is an ample supply of flu vaccine available in many convenient locations from primary care providers to local pharmacies. We know these vaccines are safe and they protect vulnerable Michiganders.”

The 2020-2021 flu season was unique in many ways, resulting in historically low flu activity for the entire season. Public health professionals indicate that community mitigation measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic such as masking and social distancing and influenza vaccination could have contributed to the below average amount of influenza cases last season.

However, during a typical flu season like the 2019-2020 flu season, the nation recorded 39 to 56 million estimated cases of the flu, 18 to 26 million medical visits due to the flu and nearly half a million flu hospitalizations. Despite its comparison to the common cold, the flu is a very serious and potentially deadly disease, especially for children, older people and people with chronic health conditions.

Flu vaccines are available now at local health departments, physician offices and pharmacies around the state. Find a location near you using the Vaccine Finder. Visit Michigan.gov/flu for more information or visit IVaccinate.org to find answers to your vaccine questions.

Related: How did they come up with the flu vaccine this year?

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.