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HEALTH ALERT: Say “Boo” to the Flu! Early Fall Vaccination Recommendations

(Ithaca, N.Y., October 30, 2023) – Tompkins County Whole Health (TCWH) is alerting the community of the importance of prioritizing flu (influenza) vaccinations in early fall and invites the community to join us in saying “BOO to the FLU!” this year.

Influenza, or the flu, can cause mild to severe illness, with symptoms commonly including fever or feeling feverish/having chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (tiredness), and vomiting and diarrhea. Flu viruses are highly contagious, spread mainly by tiny droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking.

Vaccination is the best protection against getting the flu — it protects not only you but also limits the spread of flu to your loved ones and others. The flu can make even healthy people very sick and cause serious complications in children younger than 5, pregnant women, people 65 years and older, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

It is recommended that everyone ages 6 months and older receive a flu shot in early fall. Flu vaccines are now available at many locations throughout our community, including healthcare provider offices, pharmacies, and clinics. Everyone ages 6 months and older can now also receive an updated COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines can be taken at the same time as a flu shot, so double up your protection this fall. Go to vaccines.gov to find an appointment near you or talk to your healthcare provider. Dial 2-1-1 for assistance with finding an appointment or setting up healthcare.

TCWH Medical Director Dr. William Klepack stated, “Last year we faced the triple threat of Flu, COVID-19, and RSV, and projections indicate this year will be no exception. However, with a new RSV vaccine for infants and older adults, an updated COVID-19 vaccine, and the annual Flu vaccine, we can all be better protected this year against these viral illnesses. The flu accounts for a mass amount of time lost at work or spent out of school, high rates of hospitalizations and, sadly, between 12,000 – 52,000 deaths annually. We must take the flu seriously – do not delay vaccination.”

Tompkins County Whole Health (formerly the Tompkins County Health Department and Mental Health Services) envisions a future where every person in Tompkins County can achieve wellness. Find us online at TompkinsCountyNY.gov/health, and follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/TompkinsWholeHealth and on Twitter at @TCWholeHealth. Get Whole Health updates or other county announcements via email or text, sign up here.

Media contact: Shannon Alvord, salvord@tompkins-co.org