JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Doctors are voicing concerns about what’s being described as a “twindemic,” as flu season is expected to collide with the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s why the city of Jacksonville and Duval County Medical Society are teaming up to launch #FluVaxJax, a community-wide campaign to get people vaccinated as part of an effort to keep area hospitals from being overwhelmed by incoming patients.
In an average year, the First Coast has about a 36.9% adult vaccination rate. With the #FluVaxJax campaign, organizers hope to increase the adult flu vaccination rate to at least 48%.
If there was ever a year to get a flu shot, epidemiologist Dr. Jonathan Kantor said this is it.
“I know even a lot of doctors have been guilty in the past for not always getting the flu shot, and I can tell you from speaking to people, this is not the year that your doctor’s going to be skipping their flu shot,” Kantor. “Just on a practical level, if you get flu symptoms, you are not going to know if you have coronavirus or if you’ve got the flu unless you go and get tested. And getting tested, means more exposure to sick people.”
Getting a vaccine
Getting a flu vaccine is easy. By law flu and other vaccines are required to be covered by your health insurance without charging a copayment or coinsurance. But, be sure to check with your insurance company to find out if you must go to a specific facility to receive the vaccine. Some insurance plans only cover vaccines given by your doctor or at a limited set of locations.
If you do not have insurance, you can go online at FluVaxJax.com, enter your email address and ZIP code and the city will provide you with a location and voucher for a free vaccine.
Florida Blue will also be offering some free flu shot clinics, beginning in October. The first flu shot clinic is scheduled for Oct. 7 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. outside of the Florida Blue Center at the Town Center.
After that, flu shot clinics will be offered on select dates into December at the Town Center location and the Winston Family YMCA:
Select dates, all are 10 a.m.-1 p.m.:
Everything you need to know
Here at News4Jax, we’re dedicated to equipping you with the information you need, from explaining the best ways to protect your children to the two symptoms that set the flu and COVID-19 apart.
Below is a recap of the coverage we’ve done on the flu vaccine and #FluVaxJax campaign:
- Why some kids need 2 doses of the flu vaccine — Protecting your children from the flu. Certain age groups need two doses of the vaccine for them to be fully effective. We break it down for parents step by step.
- Flu mist vs. flu shot? — Duval County’s Health Department director says either is a good option this year. She explains the differences between the two vaccines, and who should be receiving which version of the vaccine and who should not.
- High-dose flu vaccine can protect those 65 and older — Flu answers for the senior population. We talk about protecting our parents, grandparents and elderly loved ones from both COVID-19 and influenza this flu season.
- Jacksonville hospitals prepare for influx of flu patients — We dig deeper into the concerns for hospitals as they prepare to deal with both flu patients and the patients already hospitalized with novel coronavirus.
- Trust Index: What’s true about the flu vaccine & what’s not — We put flu vaccine myths to the test using our Trust Index to help you and your loved navigate the differences between what’s true and which claims aren’t.
- Telling flu and COVID-19 apart — These two viruses share some common ground as symptoms go. But there are two symptoms that can help you tell them apart.
- To vaccinate or not? — We share the stories of two local mothers and tell you why one of them chooses to vaccinate her family while the other mother does not.
- Mayor interview — Mayor Lenny Curry joined us for a live virtual interview to talk about the #FluVaxJax campaign.
- Dr. Sunil Joshi interview — Joshi, president of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation, joined us live in studio for an interview about the launch of the #FluVaxJax campaign and the importance of getting the flu shot.
- Flu shots at the pharmacy — Pharmacists from Walgreens joined us live at the station to give flu shots to some familiar faces with our Morning Show team and they answered questions about why it’s easier than ever to get your family protected from the flu.
- Live news conference — Mayor Lenny Curry hosted a live news conference with Dr. Joshi on the #FluVaxJax campaign
- What pregnant women should know about the flu vaccine — Lauren Verno interviews a Mayo Clinic doctor about what pregnant women need to know about the flu and the flu shot.