LA CROSSE/EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Our vocabularies gained several new words this year, social distancing, pandemic, and coronavirus. Health systems are using another one in hopes of avoiding it; twindemic. First News at Nine’s Hayley Spitler explains why health officials recommend getting the flu shot earlier this year.
As COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Western Wisconsin, Gundersen Lutheran Health System is looking to avoid another virus, influenza, by offering flu shot clinics starting next month.
Gundersen Director Infection Control, Bridget Pfaff said, “It’s more important than ever that we get our flu vaccines. I think each year 40 percent of people get their flu vaccine here in the United States, we would like to see that be higher.”
The flu shot clinics open on October 12 at both the Onalaska and La Crosse Gundersen campuses. No appointments are necessary, and you do not need to be a Gundersen patient.
Flu shots are also available through scheduled appointments. Unlike COVID-19, younger children are at higher risk for influenza.
Pfaff said, “Anyone ages six months and older should be getting that flu shot. Moms who are pregnant protecting their unborn child through immunization is a key right now as well.”
Pfaff says those 65 and older are able to get a high dosage flu shot.
If you are afraid of needles, a nasal spray vaccine is available for ages two through 49. Health systems say it’s important to get any form of the vaccine to prevent coming down with COVID-19 and the flu at the same time.
“We do hope to see the prevention of hospitalizations, prevention of complications related to influenza. Influenza causes deaths every year,” said Pfaff.
Mayo Health System in La Crosse is also hoping to avoid a twindemic by offering a similar clinic Wednesday through Friday starting October 7.
In La Crosse Hayley Spitler First News at Nine.