Signs saying “Ask Me” have been popping up throughout Polk County as part of a flu vaccine awareness campaign led by the Polk County Health and Human Services Agency and community partners.
The Polk County Health and Human Services Agency is partnering with St. Luke’s Hospital, local clinics and medical providers, pharmacies like Foothills Pharmacy and others to encourage people to learn more about why, how and where to get an annual flu vaccine.
Local community partners such as Blue Ridge Community Health Center-Polk, Columbus Medical Associates and others have come together to launch this flu vaccine awareness campaign. The Polk County Health and Human Services Agency and other partners are encouraging community members to get the flu vaccine to increase the number of people who are protected against the flu virus, which can be deadly.
“This year’s flu vaccine awareness is even more important due to COVID-19,” Polk County Health and Human Services Agency Director Joshua Kennedy said. “As we try to keep the community healthy and moving forward, we want to encourage everyone to seek out information regarding getting your flu shot from one of the many community partners who are offering flu vaccines this year. It is one of the simplest and easiest things we can do as a community to keep ourselves, our families and our community healthy while we try to overcome the challenges faced with COVID-19.”
Protecting yourself also protects those who are unable to receive the vaccine due to compromised immune systems or other health issues. Increasing the number of people who are vaccinated helps protect these vulnerable individuals by reducing the chance that they will be exposed to someone who is sick. Being vaccinated also can help you avoid missing work, school and the aches and pains of flu season.
According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. For example, during 2018-2019, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 4.4 million influenza illnesses, 2.3 million influenza-associated medical visits, 58,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations and 3,500 influenza-associated deaths.
The CDC encourages all individuals 6 months of age and older to get their flu shot as the first step for protection against the virus. Remember, the flu ends with “U”! Call ahead to ask about getting a flu vaccine from one of these local options: Blue Ridge Health-Polk, St. Luke’s Hospital and their network of physician practices, Columbus Medical Associates, Foothills Pharmacy, CVS and other locations regionally. Visit the Polk Health and Human Services Agency Facebook page at www.facebook.com/polkncpublichealth/ for updates.
For more information about the coronavirus and to read the latest guidance on keeping yourself and others safe and where to get tested, visit www.polknc.org, www.ncdhhs.gov, https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/testing/covid-19-testing-locations or call the Polk County Message Line at (828) 722-5086.