by Dona Wininsky
The American Lung Association in Wisconsin will offer free or reduced-price flu and pneumonia shots throughout Wisconsin next week to encourage people to get vaccinated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccinations will be provided at “pop-up” clinics held by community partners.
While the program will focus primarily on senior citizens and other high-risk populations, anyone is eligible to receive an immunization. UnitedHealthcare provided the funding for 3,000 influenza vaccinations and 150 pneumonia vaccinations.
“Our goal is to have a record number of people immunized against lung infections this year. While it’s always important to receive a yearly flu shot, this year the COVID-19 pandemic has made it a critical necessity for people to protect their health, especially older Wisconsinites and those with other lung health issues,” said Megan Cordova, Executive Director for the American Lung Association in Wisconsin. “We are so grateful to UnitedHealthcare for providing us the means to reach so many people.”
People can obtain both influenza and pneumonia vaccinations at the following clinics:
9/30/20, 1:00-4:00PM – American Legion Post 73, 6 Boon Blvd., Neillsville
10/6/20, 8:00-11:00AM – Colby Lion’s Shelter, 103 W. Adams St., Colby
10/8/20, 9:00AM – 12:00PM – Thorpe Area Senior Citizen Center, 116 N. Washington St., Thorpe
Older adults, people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic health conditions – like heart disease, diabetes, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – are especially vulnerable to flu-related complications. Currently, there is not a vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19 and healthcare professionals suggest this makes prioritizing the flu vaccine more important than ever. The (different) viruses that cause influenza and COVID-19 may circulate at the same time – and it is even possible that someone could get sick from both respiratory infections. COVID-19 and the flu have some similar overlapping respiratory symptoms such as fever and cough. If we increase the number of people vaccinated against the flu, we can reduce the number of patients being treated with severe flu-related complications in hospitals. The flu vaccine remains the single best way to prevent the flu. You can learn more at Lung.org/influenza.
“The best way to prevent the flu is to avoid being exposed to the virus,” said Dr. Nicole Brady, chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin. “As with any potential illness, like the flu or COVID-19, it is important to follow good prevention practices like hand washing, masking and vaccines. While the flu shot does not stop COVID-19, it does protect you against the flu and is another tool to keep you healthy this year.”
The Sentinel & Rural News covers the news and events of Clark County and southern Taylor County, as well as regional news that affects those areas.