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Arizona rolls out vaccination campaign as flu season nears

(Public Domain Photo)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services rolled out a flu shot campaign Friday in hopes of upping vaccinations and lowering the risk of strain on hospital systems as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The “Roll Up Your Sleeve” campaign encourages people — especially health care workers, families with young children, college students and vulnerable adults — to get the flu shot as soon as possible.

Flu season typically hits its peak between January and March, but state leaders have put an extra emphasis on the vaccination because of COVID-19’s ongoing impact.

Also, flu season hit Arizona harder and earlier than usual last year.

“It’s not too early to get your flu shot,” Gov. Doug Ducey said Thursday during a press conference. “The vaccine is available in your communities and I encourage everyone to get their flu shot as soon as possible.”

The campaign’s website features a locator so individuals can find a nearby spot to get a shot.

In an average year, between 5% and 20% of Arizonans get the flu, leading to more than 4,000 hospitalizations and about 700 deaths.

The state health department says adults admitted to the hospital because of the flu are 60% less likely to develop a severe illness if vaccinated.

The risk of severe complications are greatest among children younger than 5, those 65 and older, pregnant women, residents of long-term care facilities, and people with medical conditions such as asthma, chronic lung disease and heart disease.

“It’s not too early to get your influenza vaccine,” Dr. Cara Christ, the state’s public health director, said.

“Every flu season, our hospitalizations increase due to influenza. Getting your flu shot will help prevent hospitalizations from influenza, keeping more hospital beds open.”

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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