HealthMonroe County

Some people unable to get flu shot due to labor shortages and lack of funding

Monroe County, New York – The flu season typically starts in the fall and lasts through the winter months, peaking between December and February. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu, and it is recommended that everyone over the age of six months get a flu shot each year. Additionally, practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently and covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, can also help prevent the spread of the flu.

America is unlikely to face another COVID wave this winter like the ones Americans faced last year and the year before, but a “Tridemic”, a combination of COVID, flu, and RSV cases, is raising concerns since hospitals are already overwhelmed with patients while the flu season peak is yet to take place in the upcoming period.

The country as a whole is dealing with a spike in flu cases. The flu season this year started earlier than usual, and New York is among the states with a higher-than-average number of cases for this period of the year. According to health experts, the high number of flu cases this season is due to the country reopening and Americans moving and living freely after strict pandemic measures in the previous two winters.

Americans this year don’t have the same immunity built up that they have in years past due to social distancing and wearing face masks since the COVID-19 pandemic began. More than 18 million fewer people got the flu vaccination this year compared to last year, while approximately 25,000 people nationwide died of flu-related illness from 2019-2020.

“The best thing that we can do to reduce our chances of getting influenza is getting the vaccine,” said Dr. Timothy Murphy, professor of medicine at the University at Buffalo, last month. “The vaccine works, even if it doesn’t work in preventing you from getting the flu, it’s effective at reducing the likelihood of severe disease and death.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals and clinics struggled with workers, and it will probably take years before health officials solve this issue. Funding has been another problem for the majority of them. Funding and labor shortages are now the main reasons why many people nationwide are not able to get vaccinated against the flu, and so is the case in Monroe County.

According to a recent story by WHEC, at least two disabled Monroe County residents confirmed that local health departments refused to send teams and vaccinate them against flu in their homes. “I have blood drawn at home. I have my visiting nurse service. My primary care physician, if you can believe it, even makes house calls, so I’m blessed to have all those services available to me. So, this was really surprising. I’ve been working on this since September,” one of the residents said.

This comes as a surprise to many because getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at home is still an option in many areas, including the Monroe County area. During the pandemic, the Monroe County Health Department spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund mobile vaccination and provide all types of vaccines. But currently, only the COVID-19 vaccine is offered. Funding and labor shortages are the two most common issues providers face. MCHD, in addition, said that the department doesn’t have a state license that will allow its employees to offer at-home health care services.

This happens when the country faces an influx of flu cases, and the situation is expected to worsen by the end of the year, especially after Christmas after the family gatherings.

In most cases, those infected with the flu will need nothing more than rest and plenty of fluids to treat the illness. However, if you have a severe infection or are at a higher risk of complications, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to treat the flu.

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