Healthcare Leaders Urge Flu Shots

With Idaho’s COVID-19 outbreak continuing, local healthcare organizations including Valor Health, St Lukes, St Als, West Valley Medical, Primary Health, Saltzer Health, and Vibra, urge people to get the flu vaccine this fall. Without widespread immunizations, healthcare leaders fear people will not only get sick, but hospitals could be overwhelmed by patients both with the flu and coronavirus.

Hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized in the U.S. each year for flu. During the last influenza season, CDC estimates 490,000 people were in the hospital with flu, with 810,000 hospitalized the year before. Health leaders are concerned by the possibility of flu-related hospitalization numbers that high once again on top of the COVID-19 patients they are already anticipating. While uncommon, patients can be infected with both viruses. In these cases, physicians expect disease to be more severe.

Both COVID-19 and the flu can lead to severe respiratory illness and worse. Getting vaccinated against the flu can significantly lessen the severity of that disease.

Last flu season, CDC says 45% of adults and 63% of children received their flu vaccine. Vaccine manufacturers anticipate those numbers will be higher this year as people are concerned about COVID-19. 

Like COVID-19, influenza is spread mainly by droplets made when someone who is contagious talks, coughs, or sneezes. The droplets can be inhaled by others nearby and land on surfaces. A person may touch that surface, then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Valor Health is offering a drive-up flu vaccination clinic on Thursday, October 15th, 2020 from 3 pm-7 pm in the parking lot of Valor Health Hospital. Patients will be able to conveniently drive up in their car to receive their annual flu vaccination. Vaccinations are free with most insurance and a cash discount is available for patients without insurance.  

Valor Health reminds everyone to wash your hands often, especially after using the restroom, before preparing food, and after coming into contact with someone that is sick. Wear a mask when you are out in public, and social distance when you are able.