OLYMPIA, Wash. – With flu season in full swing, what better time to get a flu shot than now.
The flu is highly contagious and can cause moderate to severe illness. Last flu season, 296 people in Washington state died from influenza-related conditions and thousands were sick and hospitalized.
“Getting vaccinated every year against the flu is essential to protecting yourself and your family from this very serious illness,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, State Health Officer. “Flu vaccines to protect you this fall and winter are available at many pharmacies and healthcare providers. Everyone six months and older, even healthy teens and young adults, should get vaccinated.”
Pregnant woman, young children, people who suffer from chronic health conditions, and those 65-years-old or older are more susceptible to complications from the flu. But everyone is encouraged to get a flu shot, even healthy young people.
“Last year was one of the most severe flu seasons on record for Washington, and data just released shows only 61 percent of Washington children and teens were vaccinated. It’s important for us to protect each other this year. Flu vaccine is available everywhere. Don’t wait – get the vaccine for protection now,” Dr. Lofy added.
All recommended vaccines for kids up to 18-years-old are free in Washington state. Providers may charge an office visit or a vaccine administration fee, but if a family can’t afford to pay, they can ask that the administration fee be waived.