Gov. Kelly urges Kansans to get flu shot to avoid extra burden on health system

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TOPEKA, Kan. — Flu season is just around the corner and people are already getting their flu shots. Health experts say, this year especially, people need to be vaccinated.

Hospitals across the country are overworked due to the coronavirus, and health experts say they can’t handle a bad flu season. According to the CDC, up to 800,000 people are hospitalized with the flu each year and between 12 to 61,000 people die from the flu each year.

Gov. Laura Kelly invited our Capitol Bureau along as she got her flu shot on Wednesday morning. The governor said, in order to avoid further exhausting health resources in the state, she urges Kansans to follow her lead by getting a flu shot, sooner rather than later.

“Our hospitals are already working hard to take care of folks with coronavirus, they don’t need this added burden,” the governor said. “It’s both to protect yourself but it’s also to protect our front line workers and our hospitals from being overwhelmed at a time when they already are.”

The symptoms of the flu and the coronavirus can be quite similar, with both potentially having a fever, shortness of breath and body aches. Health experts say it’s best to take all precautions to keep your immune system health right now.

“You definitely don’t want to be overwhelming the health care system, you want to stay out of that. Plus, it’s just a doorway to the other infection,” explained Chad Ullom, Pharmacy Manager, Walgreens.

The flu vaccine takes about 2 weeks to develop, so it’s recommended to get the shot prior to the start of flu season in October. For adults, the vaccine will last the entire flu season. Children 6 months to 8 years old may need two doses of the vaccine for one flu season.

Pharmacist Chad Ullom said to not worry about the needle pain.

“For most people, it’s virtually pain-free.”

The flu vaccine is covered by all insurance providers. Many pharmacies and doctor’s offices offer a free or low-cost vaccine for uninsured patients.

To find a flu shot location near you, click here.

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