Health Department urges everyone get flu shots with rough season predicted

Researchers warn this flu season could be far worse than normal.

Kelly Garcia, interim director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, says the flu vaccine is widely available and can be taken at the same time as a Covid booster shot.

“This year, we’re seeing some disease trends with other respiratory viruses which would indicate we’re headed into a high volume flu year,” Garcia said over the noon hour today, “which means that we need everyone to get their vaccine.”

In remarks during a telephone town hall meeting with Iowa AARP members, Garcia urged Iowans to stay home if they have flu symptoms. “We need to make sure that we’re not putting additional pressure on our health care delivery system,” Garcia said, “and in those high flu years, we do see a fair number of hospitalizations because of that particular disease, so we are going to want to make sure we are doing everything to prevent that this year.”

The Iowa Department of Public Health’s website indicates about 39% of Iowa residents got a flu shot last year. The rate varies from county to county. Half of the residents in Winneshiek and Carroll Counties got the flu vaccine last year, while the lowest percentage of all 99 counties was in Jefferson County were just under 24% of residents got the flu shot.