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Getting a flu shot can protect your health and the people you care about

Posted at 1:36 PM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-08 15:44:09-05

Earlier this year, the American Heart Association launched a new education campaign called Live Fierce. Take Action. and OptumCare Utah is a proud sponsor.

The It's Up to You campaign focuses on educating and encouraging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, in particular those with underlying conditions and heart and stroke survivors.

The Choose Family Over Flu campaign messaging is quite similar. Getting a flu shot is especially important this year and can protect your health and the people you care about.

Dr. Chad Bittner with OptumCare says that a recent scientific study found that obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart failure were four of the top risks for COVID-19 complications.

Dr. Bittner says this is also true for the flu. People with underlying risk factors like heart disease, stroke, obesity and diabetes are at high risk of serious flu complications.

During the 2018-2019 flu season, more than 9 in 10 adults hospitalized for the flu had at least one underlying medical condition.

Black, Latino and Native American people and those living in rural areas are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 and more severe complications including heart disease and death.

In addition to a higher risk for being hospitalized or dying from the flu, older patients may face permanent disability and loss of independence due to the flu.

Dr. Bittner says we all should consider getting the COVID-19 and the flu shot. And, they can be received at the same time.

He explained this year, our population's natural immunity may be lower since there was less flu activity last season and because some of the community-wide health measures we had last year for COVID-19 also protected against the flu. Those include mask wearing and smaller crowds.

Vaccinate.utah.gov has information on when and where to get a vaccine.

You can also visit heart.org/vaccine or heart.org/flu for more information.