While there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the flu vaccine is available now to protect people and their families from flu viruses this fall and winter. Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Widespread flu vaccination will also help reduce flu illness so as not to overwhelm the health care system during this health crisis.
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine. Getting vaccinated can also protect more vulnerable people like babies and young children, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions. Getting the flu vaccine can also reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
“It is important every year to get your influenza vaccine, but this year we can’t stress it enough,” says Otter Tail County Public Health nurse Jessica Metzger. “We encourage everyone to do their part this year and get vaccinated so we can stop the spread of influenza during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Flu shots and nasal spray flu vaccines are available options for vaccination. Otter Tail County Public Health will begin community flu clinics throughout the county beginning in October. Community clinics will be held in Fergus Falls on Oct. 15 and 23, Ottertail city on Oct. 16 and 20, and in New York Mills on Oct. 7 and 22. This year flu vaccine administration is by appointment only. To schedule a flu vaccine in your local area please visit ottertailcountymn.us/flu-vaccine or call 218-998-8320 to have an appointment scheduled for you. Flu vaccines are also available at many pharmacies and from health care providers.
Otter Tail County Public Health encourages everyone to continue to practice preventive behaviors such as wearing face coverings, covering coughs, frequently washing hands, social distancing and staying home when not feeling well. All these measures help prevent the spread of both influenza and COVID-19.
Otter Tail County Public Health has resources and nurses available for questions about vaccines.