CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – As flu season approaches, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department is rolling out a new initiative. This is to help stop the spread of the flu and COVID-19 going into the cooler months.
Dr. Sherri Young with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department says it was a very slow flu season last year because things were shut down and people were wearing masks due to the pandemic. Now that things are back open it’s believed flu season will be much worse this year.
The initiative Arms Across Kanawha is for people to protect themselves from illnesses this winter.
“According to the CDC, a record number of flu vaccines were given between 2020 and 2021,” Dr. Sherri Young with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said.
Health professionals want those high flu vaccination rates to continue this season.
“We will see these types of strains of flu. Those strains change from year to year, and that’s why the flu vaccine changes from year to year, and that’s why we have to take the flu shot every year,” Dr. Young said.
Last year, you heard of thousands of people dying from COVID-19. Thousands of people also die from the flu, and on a bad year, it could be close to 80,000 people nationwide. To encourage people to get vaccinated for both illnesses, Mayor Amy Goodwin and others rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated.
“We need to do this for not just our community, but for our physicians and our nurses and for our teachers, and for our students,” Mayor Amy Goodwin said.
Experts say getting the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time is safe and want to get shots in arms before the cases of flu pop up.
“We are seeing other respiratory illnesses spreading throughout the communities and we’re seeing additional hand foot and mouth disease and other things we didn’t see last year. Looking at these disease trends we have to believe that the flu season for 2021 and 2022 is going to be possibly a bad season.”
Dr. Young says the best time to get vaccinated is two weeks before a vacation or holiday because it takes your body that long to build immunity to the virus.