By Karen Stokes
Early increases are being reported in seasonal flu activity.
“We noticed a lot of the increases this winter because we haven’t had flu circulating the way it usually does during the winter because so many Americans stayed at home and did the right thing during COVID-19 so there is less protection than previously,” said Kevin Munoz, assistant White House press secretary.
There’s good news though, the United States has purchased a significant amount of flu vaccines that are designed to match the present strain of flu.
“The best thing everybody can do is get their flu shot to protect against the flu and also get their COVID-19 shot,” said Munoz. “We know that in the past couple of winters COVID-19 circulated in higher numbers in colder weather.”
The Biden Administration announced a six-week campaign through the end of the year urging Americans to get their updated COVID-19 vaccine. With winter and holiday gatherings right around the corner, more Americans getting their updated vaccine will help avoid thousands of preventable COVID-19 deaths.
The Administration has put vaccines at the center of the COVID-19 response because vaccines are the best tool available to prevent hospitalization and death.
The flu and COVID-19 vaccine can be taken at the same time. Doctors say it’s an efficient and effective way to make sure you’re protected.
“You can get your flu and COVID-19 shots at the same time. That’s something that many Americans and the COVID-19 coordinator for the United States at the White House did this year,” Munoz said.
Over 70,000 locations are offering the updated COVID-19 vaccines, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken steps this month to expand to even more locations, including mobile settings and sites in rural and remote areas, through more flexible ordering options for providers. HHS will continue direct outreach in communities with trusted community partners and messengers to provide easy access to updated COVID-19 vaccines and information on the benefits of vaccination. HHS is standing up pop-up vaccine clinics and educational booths at major community gatherings – from libraries to sporting events to county fairs, and more.
“I think it’s really important for folks to know that vaccines.gov is a website that shows more than 70,000 locations across the country to get a vaccine,” Munoz said. “There’s a lot of work being done to make sure vaccines are accessible.”