Flu shots still matter


"Strive for 45%!"

It's easy to associate flu shots with September and October. That's when we as an agency do an initial push to get staff and clients vaccinated. And by December the emphasis on flu season feels a bit muted. But this month, with COVID-19 cases rising, it's an especially important time to protect against the flu.

Population Health Nurse Tracy Russell and Director of Compliance Margaret Flanagan explain why we need to keep the spotlight on flu season, now more than ever.

What is our agency goal for flu shot rates? And how are we doing so far?

Our goal is that 45% of our clients get vaccinated. We are currently at 43% - the closest we have come to reaching this goal, at least for our in-person clients. Our telehealth clients lag behind at 28%, so we have some significant work to do to improve rates for this group.

Why are we pushing for flu shots now?

Flu shots are so vital this year. We make a lot of progress at the start of the flu season when it’s on everyone’s radar. But, as the season wears on we see a drop in our rates. This is especially true for telehealth clients. We need to keep offering and keep giving the vaccine. This is particularly important now as we are seeing a huge spike in COVID-19 and our hospital systems are getting flooded. We need to help keep clients as healthy as possible throughout the flu season, keep them out of the hospital, and the flu vaccine is one way to do that!

What’s the most important thing that staff can do to help?

Keep asking all clients who have not received their flu shot to get their vaccine ASAP! If you can, walk through the steps someone can take to get the vaccine. Please remember to offer flu shots to telehealth clients, too, and remind them they can walk-in to Health Care for the Homeless or go to an outside pharmacy.

What’s the most important thing that clients can do?

Get their flu shot now! This is NOT the year to forego the flu vaccine, even if they are staying indoors most of the time. This can help keep them and others they come into contact with healthier throughout the winter months.

Where can clients get the flu shot now?

Clients can come to 421 Fallsway as a walk-in or schedule an appointment between 8 a.m.-4 p.m. every weekday except Thursdays, when they can come from 8 a.m.-noon. For community sites, clients can schedule an in-person appointment (See hours and locations). Also, anyone can go to their local pharmacy or grocery store – most offer people with Medicaid/Medicare free flu vaccines. But you should call ahead to confirm. 

Read more from The Baltimore Sun

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