October 18, 2022
Chase Cook, Acting Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-8649
Maryland Department of Health urges Marylanders to get annual flu shot and COVID booster
First three laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza of the 2022-2023 season identified
Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today urged Marylanders to get their annual flu shots, as well as their COVID-19 booster shots. Since the beginning of the official flu season this fall, MDH has identified three laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza.
“Flu season is already underway in Maryland and getting your flu shot today is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones,” said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccines are also now available, and I encourage every eligible Marylander to get their COVID booster shot. You in fact can safely get both a flu shot and COVID-19 booster at the same time.”
Secretary Schrader received his COVID-19 bivalent booster and a flu shot
from Yaritza Velez in September at CVS Pharmacy in Laurel.
Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that spreads through coughing or sneezing, and through contact with infected people or contaminated surfaces and objects. Common symptoms include fever, body aches, fatigue, coughing and sore throat. Symptoms usually begin one to four days after being exposed.
The symptoms of flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses can be similar, and people can be infected with both influenza and COVID-19 at the same time. Testing is necessary to confirm a diagnosis.
The flu vaccine is recommended for all Marylanders six months of age and older. Although most flu cases are mild and most people recover with few or no complications, the flu can pose a serious risk for children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, pregnant women and individuals with underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems. It is especially important for those at high risk for flu-related complications to get vaccinated.
All eligible Marylanders ages 5 and up are encouraged to get the COVID-19 primary series and booster shot. Marylanders can schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment by visiting covidvax.maryland.gov or calling the GoVAX Call Center at 1-855-MD-GOVAX. Some locations may offer both flu and COVID shots at the same visit.
If you think you have the flu:
Contact your healthcare provider to discuss testing and to manage symptoms or complications
Stay home from work or school to avoid spreading illness
Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing
Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wash your hands often
Flu surveillance data is reported weekly throughout the annual flu season, from the first week in October through the second week in May. For the 2022-2023 flu season, MDH has identified three laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza, subtyped as influenza A (H3). This year’s flu vaccine covers both influenza A and B.
To view Maryland’s flu surveillance data dashboard, visit health.maryland.gov/flu-dashboard. The dashboard is updated weekly on Friday evenings. For more information about the state’s flu surveillance activity visit MDH’s fluwatch webpage.
For information about the flu and the benefits of vaccination, visit MDH or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Maryland Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community engagement.
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