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HAP Urges Public to Get a Flu Shot as Flu Season Nears

December 11, 2020

During National Influenza Immunization Week, HAP joins health care organizations around the nation urging everyone six months and older to get vaccinated against the flu. 

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the commonwealth, flu season is only just beginning. Getting a flu shot can help relieve the burden on Pennsylvania’s hospitals as they continue to treat patients with COVID-19.

“COVID-19 cases are at an all-time high and we cannot afford to have a flu epidemic in Pennsylvania in the middle of this global pandemic,” said Raphael Barishansky, the Department of Health’s deputy secretary of health preparedness and community protection.

The Department of Health recommends residents across the commonwealth take these public health precautions this winter:

  • Get the flu shot
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands
  • Clean surfaces frequently
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are feeling sick
  • If you must go out, wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing
  • Download the COVID Alert PA app to aid the state’s contact tracing efforts

Current flu activity is low, with confirmed flu cases in 40 of the 67 Pennsylvania counties. The virus is still below the state’s epidemic threshold, the Health Department reports, but cases are expected to rise in the coming winter months. The flu vaccine can help lessen symptoms and shorten the duration of illness for patients who contract the flu this year.

During November, HAP released a public health call to action from more than 400 Pennsylvania nurse and physician leaders, urging residents to get the flu shot and follow the proper precautions to stay healthy this winter. These public health measures reduce the spread of the flu and COVID-19, and ensure hospitals have the capacity to care for patients across the commonwealth.

For more information about National Influenza Immunization Week or HAP’s public health efforts, contact Robert Shipp, III, PhD, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, HAP’s vice president, population health and clinical affairs.