The Chicago Department of Public Health Launches Annual Flu Vaccination Campaign

September 22, 2021

Bria Kelly

CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched its annual flu vaccination campaign today to raise awareness about the flu and encourage Chicagoans to receive their annual flu shot. To ensure that every resident of Chicago can access vaccines, regardless of their immigration status and ability to pay, CDPH has scheduled more than 50 community flu and COVID-19 clinics over the next two months where residents can get their flu shot for no cost.

“This season getting vaccinated is more important than ever. As we await the COVID vaccine for children under 12, it is important that you get your annual flu shot and, if you haven’t already, your COVID-19 vaccine,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “Young children and the elderly are at greater risk for getting seriously ill with influenza infections but all of us need to step up to get vaccinated to protect ourselves and our communities.”

In a couple of weeks, CDPH will launch its annual public awareness campaign to promote the importance of influenza vaccination that will feature print, digital, and video ads in both English and Spanish.  The flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. This year, CDPH wants Chicagoans to know that the co-administration of the influenza and COVID-19 vaccines is safe and encouraged. There is no data to suggest that side effects will be worse when the two vaccines are co-administered. Some individuals may experience arm soreness and flu-like symptoms lasting 48-72 hours after receiving either vaccine. 

It’s unknown when the flu season will start, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and CDPH recommend getting the flu vaccine by the end of October

“The flu vaccine is a safe way to protect people from the flu virus,” said Marielle Fricchione, M.D., CDPH Medical Director. “It’s effective and prevents thousands of hospitalizations and deaths each year.”

Over two days, CDPH will host five Family Flu/COVID clinics on Saturday, October 16, and Saturday, October 23, at five City Colleges of Chicago and sponsor more than 50+ smaller, one-time Flu/COVID clinics in high-risk communities. The full schedule is available online at Walk-ins are welcome, but residents will soon be able to register in advance on the website.

It is especially important for people who are at higher risk of being exposed to or developing serious complications from flu and COVID-19 to get vaccinated, as well as those who are caregivers of people who are at higher risk from these two diseases. This includes:

  • People 65 and older, who account for the majority of hospitalizations and deaths from flu and COVID-19.
  • People with underlying medical conditions like lung disease, heart disease, neurologic disorders, weakened immune systems and diabetes, who also are more likely to have serious flu and COVID-19 outcomes.
  • African Americans and Hispanics, who are disproportionally affected by diseases like asthma, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic conditions that can increase the risk for serious flu and COVID-19 complications.
  • Caregivers in long-term care facilities—in addition to residents—who are in daily close contact with people who are most vulnerable to serious flu and COVID-19 illness and death.
  • Essential workers who have frequent interactions with the public and who are therefore more likely to be exposed to flu and COVID-19.

Residents are best served when they receive vaccines as part of a routine visit with a primary care provider. If you do not have a doctor, find a nearby pharmacy that offers the flu vaccine or call 312-746-4835 to locate a CDPH Community Flu Clinic. To make it easier for residents to find a location to be vaccinated, CDPH has launched the Chicago Flu Vaccine Finder, a web-based app that shows the closest location where the flu shot is available.

For more information about the flu and to see the full list of community flu clinics in Chicago, visit