CHA Recommends Getting Flu Shots With Cases Rising
By: Mike Stiles - Thursday, November 18, 2021

(photo courtesy of CDC)

(COLDWATER) – Influenza cases are on the rise in Michigan.

The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency says a recent outbreak of 525 cases of influenza among students at University of Michigan should be a reminder to the public to get your flu vaccination. Statewide surveillance shows flu vaccination numbers are lower than last year’s, which puts the community at higher risk for transmission.

Kali Nichols, Director of Personal Health and Disease Prevention with the CHA says they understand that everyone is fatigued with messaging about COVID, but the CHA must continue to protect the residents from Influenza as well.. Due to the pandemic response of 2021, Nichols says influenza cases were lower, because of the mitigation strategies communities and households were using. However, she says that could be challenging with low COVID vaccination numbers in many of our communities in the tri-county area, along with individuals not getting their flu shots.

As a reminder to protect your self from respiratory illnesses, including influenza and COVID: Try to avoid close contact with sick people; If you become ill get tested for influenza and COVID. If positive for either, follow isolation/quarantine guidance; If you are sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

The CHA offers free flu shots to qualifying families with children age 18 or younger through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. This program is for children who are not insured or whose insurance does not cover immunizations. To get your flu shot from the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency, please call your local office and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

In St. Joseph County, the flu shot clinics are on Tuesday. To schedule an appointment, you can call 269-273-2161, extension 208. Branch County flu shot clinics are on Monday and you can make an appointment by calling 517-279-9561, extension 100. For Hillsdale County residents, flu shot clinics are on Wednesday, and appointments can be made by calling 517-437-7395, extension 336.

In addition, flu shots are widely available at local pharmacies and physician offices.


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