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Get vaccinated for respiratory illness

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is recommending residents get the flu, COVID-19 and RSV vaccines to protect themselves and their communities against respiratory viruses this upcoming season.

Getting vaccinated is critical because flu, COVID-19 and RSV frequently spread at the same time of year. Residents can get their COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the flu vaccine and RSV vaccine if they are eligible. Vaccinations are safe, effective strategies to protect residents, their families and communities from illness.

“With the addition of COVID-19 to respiratory illness season during fall and winter, it is important to use tools to prevent getting sick and spreading illness, which includes getting safe and effective vaccines,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Flu, COVID-19 and RSV vaccines are available in many convenient locations, from primary care providers to local pharmacies, and you can receive them at the same time.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects 2023-24 to be similar to 2022-23 in terms of total number of hospitalizations from seasonal respiratory illnesses. During the 2022-23 flu season, the nation recorded 27 to 54 million estimated cases of flu, 12 to 26 million flu medical visits and 19,000 to 58,000 estimated deaths from the flu. Despite its comparison to the common cold, the flu can be a serious and potentially deadly disease, especially for children, older adults and people with chronic health conditions, which is why vaccination remains a critical strategy for prevention.

Adults ages 65 years and older are recommended to receive one of the following if available: high-dose influenza vaccine, adjuvanted influenza vaccine or recombinant influenza vaccine, over the standard-dose influenza vaccine. If none of the recommended vaccines are available, any age-appropriate vaccine should be used and the opportunity to be vaccinated should not be missed. The flu vaccine is the best way to reduce risk from the seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications. Each year flu vaccination reduces the burden of influenza significantly in the United States preventing millions of illnesses, and thousands of hospitalizations and deaths.

Most Michigan residents can still get a COVID-19 vaccine for free. For people with health insurance, most plans will cover the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you. Michigan residents who don’t have health insurance or have health plans that do not cover the cost can reach out to a health care provider or local pharmacy participating in the CDC’s Bridge Access Program, their local health department or visit Vaccines.gov for additional information on ways to obtain a free vaccine. Children eligible for the Vaccines for Children program also may receive the vaccine from a provider enrolled in that program. Find a vaccine location near you, including Bridge Access Providers, visit Vaccine Finder.

Visit Michigan.gov/flu for more information or visit IVaccinate.org to find answers to your vaccine questions.

If you have Medicaid and you are approaching your renewal, make sure to turn in your paperwork on time to avoid any delays in coverage. Visit Michigan.gov/MedicaidRenewal for more information.

To learn more about seasonal respiratory illnesses and how to protect yourself, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDFluRSV.

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