JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri health officials are urging residents to get the flu vaccine in order to prevent the spread of the illness and “ease the burden of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.”
The Department of Health and Senior Services said reported flu cases in 2020 were much lower than usual, but that means “the public should not lower their guard and fail to get vaccinated.” A record number of flu vaccines were administered in 2020.
“Getting your annual flu shot this fall is even more important this year as we continue to take action against COVID-19,” DHSS director Donald Kauerauf said. “We encourage every person over the age of 6 months to get a flu shot to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community against flu and its associated complications. Each flu season is different, and citizens need to practice individual protective actions including getting vaccinated.”
DHSS said those who have not had the COVID-19 vaccine can get that shot and the flu immunization at the same time.
The department began reporting weekly flu data on October 15. The data will be published every week and it will include the number of Missourians diagnosed with the flu, or who have flu-like illness visits to the ER, and flu-related hospitalizations across Missouri.
From October 3-9, 28 laboratory-confirmed flu cases were reported in Missouri. This data is within the expected range for this time of year.
“Missourians experienced many disruptions in their lives due to COVID-19 in the past 19 months,” Kauerauf said. “I understand that everyone is tired of COVID-19. However, taking steps now to protect yourself from influenza, which includes getting your flu vaccination, will help us all avoid experiencing more of those disruptions at work and school.”