Health experts encourage flu shot this year, as vaccination numbers drop from 2021

The shot protects yourself and people around you, especially the vulnerable, and especially with the double-whammy of COVID-19 still spreading
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 6:28 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As we inch closer to the official start of fall in just a few days, health experts want your health to be top of mind.

While many are considering covid-19 boosters right now, officials want to remind people to get their influenza vaccine too.

Experts say influenza seasons are hard to predict, but we often look to Australia for a glimpse into what the season may look like because they are experiencing winter right now.

UW-Health’s immunizations program director, Dr. Jim Conway, said Australia’s flu season started early with a high rate of infections. Some are expecting the same flu season here.

Plus, this year there will be less carryover community immunity from the last flu season. According to UW-Health, fewer Wisconsinites got their flu vaccines last year. Only about 40 percent of people in Wisconsin got a flu shot, which is normally in the 50-55 percent range.

There were also fewer people catching the flu last winter due to covid-19 mitigation efforts during the delta and omicron surges.

“Most places are actually offering the opportunity to schedule for both vaccines at the same time. So that’s the idea, is to try to get them at the same time. You know, certainly if only one is available and you’ve got flexibility in your schedule, or want to spread it out just in case you had, you know, particularly severe side effects from previous boosters. You know, that’s also acceptable as long as you can make sure that you get it done. I think we just worry that people lose opportunities and then kind of get held up and try to get rescheduled,” said Dr. Conway.

With appointments available now, experts encourage the public to schedule their influenza vaccine in September or October.

Anyone six months and older is eligible to get the flu vaccine.