City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Complete b-roll of community leaders receiving flu shots is now available
Austin, Texas – Today, Sept. 26, Austin community leaders participated in a flu shot clinic to mark the start of the 2020-2021 flu season and encourage community members to make plans to get their flu shot by the end of October.
B-roll from all participating community leaders and an interview with Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority is available here. Media may use the videos and attribute to the City of Austin.
The community leaders and their titles are as follow:
- Casey Claiborne, Anchor and Reporter for FOX 7 Austin
- Vince Cobalis, Past Chair and Current Member of the Asian American Quality of Life Advisory Commission
- Walt Maciborski, Anchor for CBS Austin
- Hema Mullur, Anchor for CBS Austin
- Marva Overton, Executive Director of the Alliance for African American Health in Central Texas
- Carmen Llanes Pulido, Executive Director of Go! Austin/Vamos! Austin
- SaulPaul, Local Rapper, Singer/Songwriter
- Chris Shorter, Austin Assistant City Manager
- Roy Spence, Chairman of GSD&M
- Kirk Yoshida, Member of the Asian American Quality of Life Advisory Commission
Austin Public Health (APH) wants to remind the community that getting a flu vaccine is critical, especially during COVID-19, to protect yourself, your loved ones, and the entire community from the flu. To “Stay Flu-Free During COVID-19,” APH is now calling on our community to share why getting the flu shot is important to them, include #FluFreeATX and tag @AustinPublicHealth on Facebook and Instagram, @AusPublicHealth on Twitter.
During the 2019-2020 flu season, Austin-Travis County hospital systems faced an overwhelming surge in flu cases during its peak in January, when more than 1,400 flu cases were being reported per week through ILINet, which does not capture all cases.
“Every year when we begin influenza surveillance, healthcare providers voluntarily report cases of flu-like illness through the national ILINet system,” APH Chief Epidemiologist Janet Pichette said. “While this does not capture all cases, we have a better understanding of the burden of disease on our community and the primary strains circulating.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also estimates that the flu has resulted in 9 to 45 million illnesses, 140,000 to 810,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000 to 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.
This flu season, COVID-19 is also still circulating in our community, with nearly 30,000 cumulative cases reported since March. To prevent potential co-infection of flu and COVID-19, the CDC recommends that everyone six months and older get an annual flu shot.
“The flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority. “While both viruses may cause similar symptoms, fortunately, the flu has a vaccine available to prevent infection.”
Flu vaccinations are offered in many locations, including doctors’ offices, clinics, and pharmacies. To find a location near you to get your flu shot, visit VaccineFinder.org.
For uninsured adults or children who are uninsured or Medicaid recipients, contact APH’s Shots for Tots/Big Shots appointment line at 512-972-5520. An appointment is required for any immunization service to ensure safe distancing measures can be followed.
“Not only do you protect yourself when you get a flu shot, but you protect your loved ones, and our community,” APH Director Stephanie Hayden said. “There are many locations in and around Austin-Travis County to get your flu shot and we need you to make plans to get flu shots for you and your family by the end of October.”
APH’s Immunizations program works to prevent communicable diseases. Many illnesses, if not protected against through proper immunizations, can lead to the development of life-threatening medical conditions. For more information, visit AustinTexas.gov/Immunizations.
For more flu information and updates, visit AustinTexas.gov/Flu.