Carson City September 30, 2021
The influenza season is fast approaching, and while last season saw historically low influenza activity nationwide due to precautions taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Nevadans are encouraged to receive a flu shot as the 2021-22 season begins.
The use of masks, improved hygiene practices, avoidance of large group gatherings and social distancing all contributed to low flu rates for the 2020-21 season. But as last influenza season ended and COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed, influenza-like illness (ILI) case counts began to rise, reaching levels higher than those seen during the season. ILI continues to increase in Nevada and the upcoming season brings many unknowns, specifically related to COVID-19 co-infections circulating with other respiratory illnesses, including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Influenza vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against influenza and its potentially serious complications. In addition, it is important to resume the precautions that were used last season to prevent the spread of influenza in Nevada. Due to the effectiveness of these precautions in preventing respiratory illnesses, it is recommended that Nevadans continue with the mitigation measures that have been effective for the flu and COVID-19:
- Mask wearing in indoor public settings
- Mask wearing in crowded outdoor settings
- Social distancing
- Staying home from school, work or social functions when symptomatic
Getting vaccinated combined with other mitigation measures not only protects yourself and your loved ones, but protects the state’s health care capacity by reducing the number of people that need medical attention related to influenza complications. Influenza vaccination is available for those aged 6 months and older and it is recommended for Nevadans to support personal health and protect the public. Some of these benefits include:
- Protecting those with decreased immunity or at higher risk of severe illness, such as the elderly, infants, pregnant women and the immunocompromised
- Protecting those who have medical conditions that may exclude them from getting the vaccine and infants younger than 6 months old
- Preventing severe illness, hospitalizations and death due to influenza
- Preventing hospitalizations is crucial in freeing up beds for patients with COVID-19 and other serious illnesses
- Reducing the number of respiratory-like illnesses, such as influenza, will help expedite the evaluation process of ruling out COVID-19 in individuals
As announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals can receive a flu and COVID-19 vaccination at the same time. For more information, visit this CDC web page.
The CDC flu website also provides helpful information on influenza, the vaccine and strategies to prevent its spread. Additional Information on the influenza and COVID-19 vaccines can be found at ImmunizeNevada.org.