For Immediate Release September 14, 2020

As scientists and researchers continue working on clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines, there is something even more important for individuals to receive this year – their annual flu vaccination.

Although about 64 percent of Americans got a flu vaccine last season, about a third of the population remained unprotected from the flu. As many as 20 percent of people in the United States come down with the flu each year.

"Flu shots can increase the chance of staying healthy through the winter months," said Michelle Gourdine, MD, interim Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Population Health & Primary Care for UMMS. "Getting vaccinated will not only help keep you healthy, but it can help to prevent you from getting others sick too. Vaccinations this year are more important than ever, not only for individuals to reduce their risk from flu but also to help conserve potentially scarce healthcare resources."

Each year in the United States, flu, or influenza, kills between 12,000 and 60,000 individuals, and leads to hospitalization for more than 200,000 people. It is recommended that everyone six months and older get a yearly flu vaccine. According to the CDC, during 2018-2019, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 4.4 million influenza illnesses, 2.3 million influenza-associated medical visits, 58,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 3,500 influenza-associated deaths.

The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year," said Dr. Joseph Moser, Chief Medical Officer at UM CRMC. "Unfortunately every year there are individuals who don't get vaccinated against the flu, some get very ill and tragically some die from what is generally a preventable illness."

Learn more about the flu and vaccines available at UMMS location. You can also get a flu shot in Charles County.