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AARP Joins Group of Organizations Urging Virginians to Get Flu Shots

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Joint Statement Urging Virginians to get Influenza Vaccinations to Protect Themselves when Flu Season Arrives as the COVID-19 Pandemic Remains a Public Health Threat

As Virginia prepares for the coming flu season, hospitals and health care providers and organizations representing state and local government, businesses, educators, and many other stakeholders and communities of interest in the Commonwealth have joined together to issue this statement to promote the importance of getting a flu shot – now, more than ever, during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

To support this effort, Lyft, the ride-sharing company, is offering ride credits for people traveling to get a flu shot. Virginians can use the code VAFIGHTSFLU for rides to and from vaccination sites. Ride credits will be available until Dec. 31, 2020 and additional terms may apply.

Joint statement from Virginia organizations*:

“Millions of Americans get the flu each year. It is estimated that at least 39 million people became ill with the flu during the 2019-2020 flu season (early October through early April), leading to a minimum of 18 million medical visits, 410,000 hospitalizations, and at least 24,000 deaths. In addition to the human cost, the economic impact of the flu related to lost work time, productivity, and medical resource investment amounts to billions of dollars annually.”

“This year, it is more important than ever to get vaccinated considering the continued presence of the COVID19 viral global pandemic that has already claimed more than 198,000 American lives. While data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that the share of Americans getting flu vaccines has risen in recent years, many people still do not get vaccinated. During the 2018-19 flu season, CDC data shows just 45.3 percent of U.S. adults (ages 18 and older) and 62.6 percent of children (ages 6 months to 17 years) received the vaccine. The Commonwealth outperformed the national average for adults (50.6 percent) and children (69.6 percent) during the 2018-2019 flu season.”

“Everyone in Virginia should receive an annual flu vaccine. This includes people in heavily populated cities and counties and people who live in rural towns and hamlets. It includes healthy and vulnerable Virginians, younger and older people, and those in communities of color. Getting a flu shot is especially important for people in communities with health outcome disparities that have also been hard hit by COVID-19 – data indicates that Black, Latinx, and Asian adults have lower average flu vaccination rates than white adults.”

“As in-person and virtual school years resume and flu season approaches, now is the time to get a flu vaccine. Doing so is an important precaution that provides a measure of relief to those who are vaccinated – it is one less thing to worry about during the time of COVID-19. In addition to flu shots, it is also vital for parents to get their children caught up on any vaccinations they may have missed during the temporary stay-at-home order earlier this year, and for all Virginians to begin to ready themselves to get a COVID-19 vaccine when that becomes publicly available.”

“Just as social distancing, wearing masks in public, and frequent hand washing continue to be necessary behaviors to practice for the good of public health, getting a flu shot is important to reduce strain on the economy and the health care delivery system during the continued fight against COVID-19.”

“The flu shot is low or no cost for many Virginians with commercial insurance. All Virginia Medicaid members have access to no-cost flu shots this year during the health emergency. Free clinics also offer no-cost flu shots to uninsured patients based on availability. So please, get a flu shot, and encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to do the same.”

*List of organizations signing on to the statement:

AARP Virginia
American Academy of Pediatrics – Virginia Chapter
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – Virginia Section
APIC Virginia
Augusta Health
Ballad Health
Bon Secours
Carilion Clinic
Celebrate Healthcare
Centra Health
Chamber RVA
Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters
Chesapeake Regional Healthcare
Clinch Valley Health
Fauquier Health
Hampton Roads Chamber
HCA Virginia Health System
Health Quality Innovators
LeadingAge Virginia
Mary Washington Healthcare
MEDARVA Healthcare
Medical Society of Virginia
Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce
Novant Health UVA Health System
Prince William Chamber of Commerce
Quality Insights
Richmond Ambulance Authority
Riverside Health System
Roanoke Regional Chamber
Sentara Healthcare
Sovah Health
Twin County Regional Healthcare
UVA Health
Valley Health System
VCU Health
Virginia Academy of Family Physicians
Virginia Alliance of YMCAs
Virginia Assisted Living Association
Virginia Association of Counties
Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics
Virginia Association of School Nurses
Virginia Association of School Superintendents
Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation
Virginia Chamber of Commerce
Virginia College of Emergency Physicians
Virginia Community Healthcare Association
Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners
Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
Virginia Department of Education
Virginia Department of Health (and the Virginia Board of Health)
Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services
Virginia Department of Social Services, the Virginia Education Association
Virginia Health Care Association-Virginia Center for Assisted Living
Virginia Health Care Foundation
Virginia Health Catalyst
Virginia Hospital Center
Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association
Virginia Municipal League
Virginia Nurses Association
Virginia Organization of Nurse Executives & Leaders
Virginia Pharmacists Association
Virginia Rural Health Association
Wythe County Community Hospital

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