DHSS says flu shots are more important than ever

State health officials and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium are teaming up to implore Alaskans to get vaccinated against the flu before the end of October, to help protect individuals and prevent additional stress on the state’s medical providers.

To help health care workers, who are already strained due to the increasing number of people being diagnosed with COVID-19, getting a flu shot as soon as possible will keep all Alaskans healthier this winter and protect the health care system too, said Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity against the flu.

Flu shots can be co-administered with other vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine. Many, but not all, vaccine clinics will offer both vaccines at the same time this year for convenience and efficiency, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

Those at higher risk of getting severe flu disease include pregnant women, children under the age of five, people 50 years and older, adults and children with chronic medical conditions and Alaska Natives and other racial groups who are disproportionally affected by chronic medical conditions that can increase the risk for severe flu or COVID-19.