MADISON — Wisconsin DHS is calling residents to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible this fall - and at best, before Halloween.
With an already overburdened health care system due to the coronavirus pandemic, DHS says it is more important than ever to get vaccinated.
"Now more than ever, getting your flu vaccine is one of the most important and proactive steps you can take to protect yourself, the people you love, and people around you,” said DHS Secretary Designee Andrea Palm in a release Wednesday.
“Getting sick from the flu could result in hospitalizations at a time when our frontline health workers are doing all they can to help COVID-19 patients recover," according to Palm.
During the 2019 flu season, 42 percent of Wisconsin residents received at least one dose of flu vaccine, DHS says, which now leads to two-thirds of the state's population at a higher risk of getting the flu.
In that same flu season, there were 36,175 flu cases reported, 4,425 flu-related hospitalizations and 183 deaths, including three children, according the DHS. The department also tallied the highest number of pregnant women hospitalized for influenza.
Providers are holding vaccination drives at churches and grocery store parking lots, as well as providing residents curbside pick-up at clinics.
In addition to the flu vaccine, people should also:
- Stay home when they’re sick.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Wash their hands frequently and thoroughly.