DHS Urges Residents To Get Flu Vaccine

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) continues to encourage Wisconsinites to get a flu vaccine to help them stay healthy while visiting family and friends this holiday season. The flu vaccine is the best tool to protect yourself and your loved ones from becoming ill with the flu. Getting your flu vaccine at least two weeks before a gathering gives your body time to build the immunity it needs to fight infection.

“This year, it is critical to make sure you and your family are protected,” said Dr. Jasmine Zapata, Chief Medical Officer in the DHS Bureau of Community Health Promotion. “Research shows that getting your flu vaccine can reduce rates of hospitalizations, prevent illness and missed work, and save lives – including for children.” 

The flu vaccine is safe and effective, and is recommended for people ages six months and older. Flu vaccination is especially important for people who are younger than 5 years old, over the age of 65, pregnant, or have a chronic health condition. But it is also important for others to get the flu vaccine to protect themselves, avoid spreading the flu to more vulnerable family members and friends.

You can get your flu vaccine at the same time as other vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines work just as well and are just as safe if you get them alone or with other vaccines. You can find flu and COVID-19 vaccine locations by visiting vaccines.gov(link is external) or calling 211.

“I really trust the flu vaccine and Wisconsinites should too,” said Tom Haupt, State Influenza Surveillance Coordinator and DHS  Respiratory Disease Epidemiologist. “Getting vaccinated can mean the difference between staying healthy all winter or missing out on the things you love to do because of flu.”

In addition to getting a flu vaccine, other things you can do to prevent the flu include washing your hands regularly, cleaning surfaces, and taking good care of your body. This also includes getting good sleep, drinking plenty of water, managing stress, and exercising regularly.

DHS is continuing its “Be an InFLUencer” campaign this year to encourage people to talk to their family friends, and about the importance of the flu vaccine to protect themselves and people around them from serious illness. While that is important information for every Wisconsinite, the campaign is focusing efforts this year on getting more people of color, native Wisconsinites, and rural residents vaccinated. These populations have historically experienced higher rates of severe influenza illness due to structural inequities that prevent them from living their best lives; these barriers include lack of access to health care services, higher risk of exposure due to environment, and higher rates of underlying health condition.

The holiday season is rapidly approaching. We’ll soon be spending more time with our families and loved ones. Don’t let the flu stop you. Get your vaccine today.

Visit the DHS Flu Prevention webpage for information on flu vaccines and other steps you can take to prevent flu. You can also follow @DHSWI on Facebook(link is external)Twitter(link is external), or dhs.wi on Instagram(link is external) for more information on the influenza vaccine.