OptumCare Utah, will provide free flu shots to Utahns ages 65 and over in order to increase access to this critical vaccination. In typical drive through fashion, patients do not need to get out of their cars to receive this vaccination and can put their arm outside of their car window to receive the flu shot hassle-free.
OptumCare Utah Is making it very convenient this year to get a flu shot. On Saturday, Oct. 3 from 10 am-3 pm, OptumCare Utah is providing FREE flu shots to adults 65 and over while supplies last at Hale Centre Theatre, 9900 S. Monroe Street in Sandy
- No appointment necessary and you won’t even have to get out of your car.
- Call 1-866-637-5628 for more information on TTY711. Or visit our Facebook events page at myOptum.
For the 2020-2021 season vaccine options include:
- Standard dose flu shots
- High dose flu shots (for people 65 or older)
- Shots made with adjuvant (for people 65 or older)
- Shots made with virus grown in cell culture (no eggs are involved in the production of this vaccine)
- Shots made using vaccine production technology (recombinant vaccine) that do not require having a candidate vaccine virus (CVV) sample to produce
- Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) – a vaccine made with a weakened live virus that is given by the nasal spray
It’s also important to remember that flu viruses are constantly changing so it’s not unusual for new flu viruses to appear every year. The annual flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age or older, with rare exceptions, because it is an effective way to decrease flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths.
During the pandemic, decreasing the overall burden of respiratory illnesses is important to protect vulnerable populations who are at risk for severe illness and reduce the burden on the healthcare system and other critical parts of our country’s infrastructure. Healthcare providers should use every opportunity during the influenza vaccination season to administer influenza vaccines to all eligible persons. These include:
- Essential workers – including health care personnel (including nursing home, long-term care facility, and pharmacy staff) and other critical infrastructure workers.
- Persons at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 – including adults aged 65 or older, residents in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, and persons of all ages with underlying medical conditions. Severe illness from COVID-19 has also been observed to disproportionately affect members of certain racial/ethnic minority groups.
- Persons at risk for serious influenza complications – including infants and young children, children with neurological conditions, pregnant women, adults aged 65 or older, and other persons with underlying medical conditions.
If people are suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of whether they have symptoms, influenza vaccines should be deferred (postponed) until they have met the criteria to discontinue their isolation.
While mild illness is not a contraindication to flu vaccine, vaccination visits for these people should be postponed to avoid exposing healthcare personnel and other patients to communicable illnesses. When scheduling or confirming appointments for vaccinations, patients should be instructed to notify the provider’s office or clinic in advance if they currently have or develop any symptoms compatible with COVID-19 or other infectious illnesses.
Although the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has not yet voted on the flu vaccine recommendations for 2020-2021, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not anticipate a major change in the recommendation on timing of the delivery of this year’s vaccines. According to the CDC, getting vaccinated in July or August is too early, especially for older Americans, because of the likelihood of reduced protection against the flu later in the season. September and October are generally good times to get vaccinated. However, if flu viruses are circulating, vaccines are even recommended in January or later.
It’s important to remember that the timing of peak flu incidence can vary significantly from year to year. For the upcoming flu season, flu vaccination will be very important to reduce flu because it can help reduce the overall impact of respiratory illnesses on the population and thus lessen the resulting burden on the healthcare system during the pandemic.
Efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, have led to the decreased use of routine preventive medical services, including immunization services. Ensuring that people continue or start getting routine vaccinations during the pandemic is essential for protecting people and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks, including the flu.
A flu vaccine can provide adults with a variety of health benefits, including preventing the flu, reducing the severity of illness if you do get the flu, and reducing your risk of flu-associated hospitalization.
While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, the CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be circulating. It is also possible to have both the flu (or other respiratory illnesses) and COVID-19 at the same time. Experts are still studying how common this combined illness can be.
Flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses.
- COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2)
- Flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses
- Because the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 can be similar, it can be difficult to differentiate between them based on symptoms alone. Testing may be needed to confirm a diagnosis.
- While flu and COVID-19 share many similar characteristics, there are some key differences between the two, such as losing taste or smell with COVID-19, COVID-19 symptoms taking longer to develop and the way in which the COVID-19 virus spreads.
- Flu and COVID-19 can both result in serious illnesses, including hospitalization or death.
Getting a flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, however, the flu vaccination has many important health benefits, including being known to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu but also to conserve potentially scarce health care resources. In addition, prior infection with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or flu does not protect someone from future flu infections. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year.
It is even more critical that these vulnerable groups receive their flu shot and follow standard safety procedures when it comes to protecting themselves from COVID-19.
For more information about OptumCare Utah and Free Flu shots visit their Facebook.
This article contains sponsored content.