Following an unusually quiet 2020-21 flu season, the Wyoming Department of Health says the need for flu shots is important to help protect Wyoming residents from influenza as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The department has started to receive sporadic reports of flu from across Wyoming in recent weeks. State Epidemiologist Dr. Alexia Harrist says, “Looking back, it appears the precautions intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 also likely reduced the impact of influenza significantly.” Although most healthy people recover from the flu, they can spread the virus to those who are at high risk for serious complications.
Many testing options, including tests run through the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory, can detect both influenza and COVID-19 from the same sample. Dr. Harrist noted that it is considered safe for people who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, including recently authorized booster doses, to receive them as the same time they receive a flu shot.
She adds that flu vaccines are especially important for those vulnerable populations such as young children; pregnant women; people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease; and people 65 years and older. Flu shots are currently available from the Teton County Department of Health.