Get a flu shot this fall
Dear King County Employee,
In the past year, with so many people staying home, social distancing, and masking up, we saw relatively little flu circulating in Washington State. Now with mask mandates lifted in most settings and many people resuming in-person activities, we are likely to see flu activity ramp up this season. It’s especially important for every person to be protected before it starts to spread in our area to give your body time to build immunity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that, with rare exceptions, everyone six months and older get a flu shot every year, including pregnant and nursing people. Today I am asking you to get yourself and those living in your household vaccinated by the end of October.
Why flu vaccination is so important
For young children, older adults, pregnant people, people with conditions that compromise their immune systems, and even healthy people, a flu vaccine can be lifesaving.
Flu vaccination prevents millions of flu illnesses and medical visits, tens of thousands of flu hospitalizations and thousands of deaths from flu in the United States each season.
In addition, flu and COVID-19 share many symptoms and it can be complicated to distinguish between the two. Get your flu shot to prevent flu illnesses that may be confused with COVID-19 and result in unnecessary testing, treatment, or isolation.
Wearing a face mask, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette will also help to prevent spread of the flu and other respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.
Getting a flu shot is easy
The county makes it free for employees and anyone covered by your benefits to get a flu shot at one of our onsite clinics, or at your doctor’s office or local pharmacy. The Balanced You team is again organizing free onsite flu shot clinics for those workers onsite. More information including the on-site flu clinic schedule can be found here. Benefits-covered employees who are telecommuting and their covered family members may find it more convenient to go to their healthcare provider’s office or a local pharmacy for their free flu shot. Learn more about how to get a flu shot through your provider or local pharmacy.
I want to reassure you of several things:
- The flu vaccine is safe – you will not get the flu from the vaccine.
- The flu vaccine is effective – it reduces your likelihood of getting the flu. Some people who get vaccinated may still get the flu, but the vaccine will help reduce the severity of your illness and your chance of needing hospitalization. When you get a flu shot, you also help prevent flu from spreading to others, especially those who are high risk for serious illness because of their age or medical conditions.
For those of you getting the flu shot onsite at work, the Balanced You team is working on cleaning and sanitation, masking, and other protocols to ensure the experience is safe. On behalf of your partners in Public Health, we thank you for taking this action.
Eric J. Chow, MD, MS, MPH
Chief of Communicable Disease Epidemiology and Immunizations, Public Health – Seattle & King County