With flu season approaching, experts say this year during the global COVID-19 pandemic it’s more important than ever for individuals to make time to get an annual influenza vaccine.
“Flu vaccines are a safe and effective way to reduce your risk of getting the flu and to lower your chances of serious illness if you do come down with influenza. Additionally, it’s a way to protect those around you,” said Dr. Michael Ellis, an infectious disease specialist and chief medical officer at The University of Toledo Medical Center.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 38 million people were sickened during the 2019-20 flu season, leading to 18 million visits to a healthcare provider, 400,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 flu deaths.
The CDC recommends everyone age 6 months and older receives a flu vaccine each year. This year, the combination of influenza and COVID-19 makes flu vaccination especially important.
“While the flu vaccine won’t protect against COVID-19, you are protecting yourself against another potentially dangerous respiratory illness and helping to ensure medical resources are available for those who may need them as COVID-19 and influenza begin to spread together,” Ellis said. “In the spirit of service, this year, when you get a flu vaccine, you’re doing your part to fight COVID-19.”
It takes about two weeks following vaccination to build immunity from the flu.
The University of Toledo provides free, drop-in influenza immunization for students and employees at clinics on Main Campus and Health Science Campus. All individuals must wear face coverings and practice social distancing.
Faculty, staff, students and volunteers at UTMC who are not granted a waiver for medical or religious reasons are required to receive an influenza vaccination by Nov. 2. Those who have received their vaccination elsewhere must provide documentation. The deadline to request an exemption for medical or religious reasons is Oct. 15.
Prior to the vaccination, employees must fill out a consent form, which is available at influenza.utoledo.edu. Those who have received flu shots elsewhere may upload documentation of their vaccination at the same website.
Main Campus students and employees can save time and register on the influenza vaccination website before going to a clinic.
Clinics will take place:
• Wednesday, Oct. 14 — Stranahan Hall Lobby, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Wednesday, Oct. 21 — Health and Human Services Building Lobby, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Wednesday, Oct. 28 — Savage Arena outside Rocky’s Locker, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If unable to attend the flu shot clinics, members of the UToledo community are encouraged to connect with their health care provider or pharmacist to receive their annual flu shot.