By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– This year, a flu shot is more important than ever. That’s why San Bernardino County, California hospitals, physicians and public health officials are joining with a coalition of healthcare stakeholders, social service organizations and governmental agencies to launch the statewide “FightFluTogether” campaign.
The campaign aims to underscore the importance of getting a flu shot as California works to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and preserve scarce health care resources for those in need.
“As we continue to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, flu shots are important to keeping you healthy and key to keeping people out of hospitals,” said Carmela Coyle, California Hospital Association President & CEO. “More people getting flu shots will ensure that hospitals are not overburdened and remain able to treat COVID-19 patients. Because the symptoms of flu are similar to those of COVID-19, limited resources like testing supplies, personal protective equipment, and medical devices can be maximized if the number of flu cases is kept down.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42.9% of California adults and 63.5% of children age six months to 17 got a flu shot during the 2018-19 season. The goal of the “FightFluTogether” campaign is to increase those percentages this year.
The centerpiece of the “FightFluTogether” campaign is a website — that features links to the CDC’s VaccineFinder, to help Californians locate a flu shot provider quickly, as well as useful facts to help you protect yourself during flu season, and timely news articles. The site will be available in both English and Spanish language versions. CHA also has developed a public service announcement in Spanish and English that will be distributed to news agencies throughout the state.
Flu shots are an inexpensive (in many cases free), safe, and simple (often you don’t even need to get out of your car) way to avoid getting sick and possibly ending up in the hospital. With few exceptions, the CDC recommends a flu vaccine for anyone 6 months and older.
According to the CDC, an influenza vaccination can help reduce the overall effects of respiratory illnesses on the population. Engaging in best practices such as hand washing, wearing masks, and social distancing can also help fight the flu and reduce hospital visits and the strain on the health care system.
“Don’t ignore your health, especially not this year,” Coyle said. “The flu is a potentially deadly disease and getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your friends.”