Montgomery County Public Health District urges flu shots during COVID-19 pandemic

The Montgomery County Public Health District is urging residents to get vaccinated for the flu and is currently taking appointments for children with adult bookings coming soon.

“This year, it’s even more important with COVID because the signs and symptoms of COVID are very similar to that of the flu,” said Alicia Williams, MCPHD’s public health director.

Looming over this flu season is the possibility of there being a confluence with COVID-19. And that can happen, Williams said as she pointed to a full hospital capacity due to COVID-19 in July.

“We don’t want to have that situation if we can prevent it. And getting a flu shot is one way we can prevent it,” she said, signaling a strain on supplies, nurse and space capacity brought on by flu hospitalizations.

As of Thursday, there are 61 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county, including 18 in ICU, according to the Montgomery County Hospital District.


“Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads a statement on the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

MCHPD is booking appointments for free vaccines for children 6 months to 18 who are either uninsured, have Medicaid, or lack coverage. Vaccinations for children without insurance are being billed at $10, with waivers available for those who cannot pay.

Unlike in years past, this year, MCHPD is vaccinating adults who are privately insured and with comorbidities or are part of a high-risk group like the elderly. Those who do not qualify can pay the $10 fee with available waivers.

The vaccine includes the four most common and prevalent flu strains and is applied through injection. Williams explained taking the vaccination during the fall is most effective because that is right ahead of the peak season, usually at the end of the year.

Aside from the danger of a contagion intensified by COVID-19, Williams wants to remind people the flu can cost them work productivity, wages and school time. A vaccine, she continued, could avoid that.

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