See this year’s Clinic Schedule below and here.
Influenza (commonly called “flu”) is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. These viruses are spread when a person who has the flu coughs, sneezes or touches a surface handled by others. It can be mild or severe and infects millions of Americans every year. And, since the flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will be circulating this season, it is possible to have the flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses, such as COVID-19 or RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) at the same time. Getting a flu vaccine is especially important to protect your health, your family’s health, coworkers, health care workers and the community this season.
In 2023-24, the seasonal and high dose influenza vaccines contain four (Quadrivalent) influenza virus strains: one updated Influenza A-like (H3N2) virus, one updated Influenza A-like (H1N1) virus and two Influenza B-like viruses. Both the seasonal quadrivalent influenza vaccine and the quadrivalent adjuvanted vaccine for people 65 years of age and older will be offered by the Department. The viruses in the flu shot are inactivated (not live), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. However, the vaccine can trigger an immune response from your body, so you may have a few mild symptoms, like achy muscles or a low-grade fever.
It is important to understand that the Influenza Vaccine is NOT protective against COVID-19 or RSV. The RSV vaccine will not be carried or given at any Department of Health Clinics. Although Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, they are caused by different viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu, COVID-19 and RSV are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. People who are experiencing respiratory or other flu like symptoms should consult their health care provider as testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. If you plan on using a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen test kit be sure it has not expired. To avoid exposing healthcare personnel and other people to COVID-19 or RSV, your vaccination visit should be postponed with your healthcare provider, coming to Department of Health Vaccination Clinics or going to other locations where vaccines are offered. The CDC recommends that a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of symptoms, wait until the person’s isolation period is over/discontinued and the person is free of symptoms.
The best way to prevent getting the flu is to get vaccinated. It takes up to two weeks after vaccination for protection (immunity) to develop in the majority of adults. To ensure proper protection from the seasonal flu virus, which can begin to circulate early in the fall, the Greenwich Department of Health has scheduled immunization clinics in October.
Director of Health, Caroline C. Baisley, emphasized, "Getting your annual flu vaccine is the best, most effective thing you can do to keep from getting the flu, and from spreading it to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Many people at higher risk from flu also seem to be at higher risk from COVID-19. If you are at high risk, get a flu vaccine this year.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that, with rare exceptions, all persons 6 months of age and older including healthy adults should get an annual flu vaccine. However, it is especially important for the following groups to receive flu vaccine:
· Persons 6 months of age and older with underlying chronic medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, kidney disorders, people with disabilities and children with neurological conditions.
· People who are cancer patients or survivors
· People with HIV
· Pregnant people and people up to two weeks after the end of pregnancy
· Healthcare workers and residents in long term care facilities, nursing homes and congregate settings
· Non-Hispanic Black people, Non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives, and Hispanic or Latino people
Who Should NOT Get the Seasonal Flu Shot
ª People who had a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction to a dose of flu vaccine in the past, or who are allergic to any ingredient in a flu vaccine should consult their health care provider.
ª Children younger than 6 months of age are too young for the flu vaccine
Consult with Your Healthcare Provider:
ª Persons with a history of egg allergy, may receive a flu vaccine after consultation with their health care provider, and in a setting where allergic reactions can be recognized and treated quickly.
ª People who previously developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) should consult their health care provider.
ª People who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait until their symptoms lessen before receiving a vaccination.
ª People with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of symptoms, should defer vaccination until all criteria for Isolation are met.
ª Consult your primary care provider about Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV) – nasal spray contraindications or precautions.
“Although the single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated, there are other ways to protect you from flu and other respiratory illnesses,” notes Director of Family Health, Deborah C. Travers.
ª Seek medical care early. Consult your health care provider immediately if you develop flu symptoms.
ª Stay home from work or school when you are sick. Keep your distance from others when you are sick except to seek medical care. Fever of 100° F and above should be gone at least 24 hours without using fever reducing medications or antiviral drugs. It could take up to one week or more to feel better.
ª Take flu antiviral medications if your doctor prescribes them.
ª Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough
ª Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based cleaners (at least 60% alcohol ingredient) are effective.
ª Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent the spread of germs.
ª Get plenty of sleep, water, healthy food and exercise
ª Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that may be contaminated with germs.
Children Under the age of 9 not eligible for the Department of Health clinics:
Seasonal influenza vaccine is recommended for all persons aged 6 months of age and older. Immunizations will not be administered to individuals under 9 years of age at the Department clinics but may be available by appointment. Parents are advised to contact their pediatricians for an appointment and dose requirements for children six months to eight years of age. For more information about vaccine availability, call (203) 622-7861 and speak with a public health nurse.
The CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for all adults 65 years or older. Pneumococcal vaccines will be offered at the clinics and are available at the Department of Health year-round. Call (203) 622-6495 for additional information about receiving a pneumonia vaccine or other recommended vaccine for adults.
During the influenza season, the public is encouraged to call the Department of Health flu information hotline for up-to-date information at (203) 622-3774.