The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is urging Michiganders to get their flu vaccine to protect themselves while communities continue to battle with COVID-19.
The state health department says getting the flu vaccine this season is critical because flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will likely be spreading at the same time.
Those at a higher risk of contracting the flu are also at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I encourage every Michigander to get their flu shot as soon as possible to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Last year, 3.5 million Michiganders got flu shots, and this year, I know that we can meet MDHHS’s statewide goal by bringing that number up to 4 million. Over the last 18 months, we’ve all seen just how critical vaccines are to keeping people safe from disease, and I want to thank every Michigander who has received their COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot. I have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and received my flu shot last week, and I hope you do too.”
The flu vaccine is the most effective way to reduce the risk from the seasonal flu and its potential complications, MDHHS said. Last flu season, 3.5 million people in Michigan received a flu vaccine as reported to the Michigan Care Improvement Registry. The state has set a goal of vaccinating a total of 4 million Michiganders for the 2021-22 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.”
Last flu season saw historically low flu activity for the entire season, MDHHS said. Mitigation measures related to COVID-19, such as masking and social distancing, as well as influenza vaccination could have contributed to the below-average amount of influenza cases last year.