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Two Milwaukee COVID-19 testing sites now offer free flu shots

Posted at 12:00 PM, Oct 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 13:08:57-04

MILWAUKEE — The Northwest Health Center and Southside Health Center began drive-the COVID-19 testing on Monday, but on Thursday they are now offering drive-thru style flu vaccines.

“People can come to the site for COVID testing, the influenza vaccine or both,” said Nick Tomaro, Preparedness Coordinator for the Milwaukee Health Department.

Jill LeStarge Immunization Program Nursing Supervisor for the Milwaukee Health Department said the process is easy, patients fill out a registration form before being vaccinated for the flu.

“We are trying to make sure people are protected against flu and the flu vaccine is modified every year so, if you got a vaccine last year and it protected you last year, you still need one this year,” said LeStarge.

Jill said the flu can have a devastating impact on the same age groups most at risk for contracting serious complications from COVID-19. That’s why she is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.

“Especially our elders, so by protecting yourself from flu you’re adding a layer of protection, it won’t protect you against COVID but you’re adding protection for yourself,” said LeStarge.

“All the things we are doing for COVID-19 prevention mask-wearing, hygiene, physical distancing, they all help for influenza as well so just very important to understand that these things we are really stressing every day, all day for protecting people," said Tomaro.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends annual flu vaccinations for everyone age 6 months and older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu viruses typically circulate in the United States annually, most commonly from the late fall through the early spring.

Most people who become ill with influenza virus infection recover without serious complications.

However, influenza can be associated with serious illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths, particularly among older adults, very young children, pregnant women, and people of all ages with certain chronic medical conditions.

Flu vaccines are offered Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 a.m to 3 p.m.

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