As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in Marion County, local health officials are urging the public to be proactive in receiving a flu shot this season. Although it’s too early to say how serious this flu season will be, a bad influenza season has the potential to pose a burden on health care resources with the addition of COVID-19.
Last year, 11,913 cases of flu were reported in Oregon. Six-hundred sixty-nine people were hospitalized, and there were three pediatric deaths. The flu vaccine is effective in reducing transmission of flu throughout the community, and this year it is more important than ever to receive a flu shot.
Marion County Public Health Administrator Katrina Rothenberger hopes community members will be diligent in getting flu vaccines this year: “More than ever, it is critical that residents of Marion County get a flu vaccine in order to protect those who are most vulnerable in our community and to preserve medical resources to treat patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Similar to wearing a face covering, it is a simple step we can all take to protect one another.”
While many often wait to get a flu shot until later in the season, physicians recommend getting the vaccine earlier this year.
“With the public so focused on COVID-19, the importance of annual flu vaccination may be somewhat muted this year,” said Matthew Boles, MD, vice president of medical affairs at Salem Health. “Therefore, it is crucial that we communicate to our residents to get a flu vaccine, while continuing to practice good hand hygiene and masking to control spread of both COVID-19 and influenza.”
Flu vaccines are available from local health care providers and many pharmacies. Community members in need of assistance accessing a flu vaccine may contact Marion County Public Health Clinic by calling 503-588-4342 or visiting immunize.mchealthy.net.
About Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics: Salem Health offers exceptional care to people in and around Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley. It comprises hospitals in Salem and Dallas, a medical group of primary and specialty care providers, plus other affiliated services. Visit us at www.salemhealth.org; “Like” us on www.facebook.com/salemhealth; follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @salemhealth; and view us at www.youtube.com/salemhealth.
About Marion County Health & Human Services Department:
Marion County Health & Human Services Department strives to create a safe and welcoming community where all people can access high quality health and human services, and are supported to achieve their highest level of health. The department is comprised of four divisions offering a range of services from immunizations to mental health crisis services. Learn more at www.MCHealthy.net.