Milwaukee Health Department kicks off annual flu vaccine drive

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik kicked off the annual flu vaccine season by receiving their vaccinations on Thursday, Sept. 17. They did so by getting their vaccinations at Milwaukee's Neighborhood House. 

"It is more important than ever to get that flu vaccination," said Mayor Barrett. "The good news is unlike COVID-19, we currently do have effective vaccines to prevent the flu."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett receives flu vaccination

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett receives flu vaccination

"I strongly recommend the flu vaccine," said outgoing Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik. 

"We know that there's been a lot of questions about vaccine efficacy. Does it work? Is it going to make me sick?" said Kowalik. "The vaccines that we`re promoting as a health department as a city, are safe vaccines."

Flu vaccine

Flu vaccine

According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the flu vaccine is recommended for those aged 6 months and older. The CDC says the flu circulates from late fall through early spring -- making this the perfect time to vaccinate. 

Commissioner Kowalik talked about the creation of a vaccine for COVID-19. She indicated "vaccine development is a science -- it's a process."

Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik

Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik

"These are patriotic measures," Barrett said. "We're fighting the war against the pandemic. We're fighting the war against the flu. Let's fight the war together."

Officials say for the upcoming influenza season, a flu vaccination will be paramount to reduce the impact of respiratory illnesses in the population and resulting burdens on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Health officials encourage making a plan to get yourself and your family vaccinated by contacting your health care provider to schedule an appointment or checking with your local pharmacy. You can also use vaccinefinder.gov or call 211 to find a provider near you. If cost is a concern, your children may be eligible for the Wisconsin Vaccines for Children program.

In addition to the flu vaccine, people should also:

  • Stay home when they’re sick.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash their hands frequently and thoroughly.

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