The Chicago Department of Public Health Launches Annual Campaign Focused on Flu, as well as Updated COVID-19 Vaccinations

September 14, 2022

Clinics across the city will offer both vaccines free of charge over the coming months

COVID-19 Joint Information Center     media.cdph@cityofchicago.org

CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced its annual flu vaccination campaign today to raise awareness about the flu and encourage Chicagoans to receive their annual flu shot. This year’s campaign also emphasizes the importance of being up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines, which includes updated COVID-19 vaccines (also known as bivalent boosters) that were approved earlier this month and are designed specifically to target the Omicron subvariants. To ensure that every resident of Chicago can access vaccines, regardless of their immigration status and ability to pay, CDPH has scheduled more than 75 flu and COVID-19 clinics over the next two months where residents can get their shots for no cost.

“We know that Australia, which has opposite seasons to the Northern Hemisphere, is having a bad flu season right now, which suggests we may have a bad flu season this fall and winter. This is not the year to skip your flu vaccine,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “Every year, flu vaccination prevents illnesses, medical visits, hospitalizations, and deaths. Getting your flu shot – in addition to being up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccines – helps protect from serious illness as we enter the winter months.”

It’s unknown when the flu season will start, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and CDPH recommend anyone 6 months or older get the flu vaccine by the end of October.

Updated COVID-19 vaccines are available now and recommended for anyone age 12 and up at least two months after completing their primary series – two doses of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), two doses of Novavax, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) – or two months after their last booster dose.

The co-administration of the influenza and COVID-19 vaccines is safe and encouraged. Some individuals may experience arm soreness and flu-like symptoms lasting 48-72 hours after receiving either vaccine.

Upcoming clinics include:

Need help finding your vaccines? The calendar of events hosted by CDPH is updated regularly at Chicago.gov/VaxCalendar, or residents can call 312-746-4835. Both flu and COVID-19 vaccinations are also available at healthcare providers and pharmacies across the city and can be found at Vaccines.gov.

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 50 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.
  • Pregnant people and people up to 2 weeks after the end of pregnancy
  • African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and Alaskan Natives 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.
  • People who live with or care for people who are most vulnerable to serious flu and COVID-19 illness and death, including household contacts, caregivers in long-term care facilities, and health care personnel who have exposure to patients.
  • Essential workers who have frequent interactions with the public and who are therefore more likely to be exposed to flu and COVID-19.

Both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines are free. For more information about the flu and additional flu shot clinics, visit Chicago.gov/Flu. Additional information about COVID-19 vaccines can be found at Chicago.gov/COVIDvax.

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