City leaders roll up their sleeves to encourage Milwaukee residents to get their flu shot

NOW: City leaders roll up their sleeves to encourage Milwaukee residents to get their flu shot

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- City leaders rolled up their sleeves to get their flu shot Wednesday, Oct. 20. They're encouraging Milwaukee residents to do the same. 

Local city health leaders kicked off flu season awareness with a flu vaccine clinic at the Neighborhood House on the city's west side.

"I don't have to worry about making an appointment to see my doctor, take a day off, it's convenient," said Niki Esty, an employee at Neighborhood House. 

Employees were among the first to take advantage of the free clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

"There's no better place to do it than out in the neighborhoods and in the city," said Alderman Cavalier Johnson. "That's where we are today."

Local leaders say it's important to make sure all residents have access to both flu and COVID vaccines. Throughout the flu season the city will have three other vaccine clinic locations. 

Kirsten Johnson, Milwaukee's health commissioner, said everyone six months old and up should get the flu vaccine, and she says co-infection from the flu and COVID are a concern this year. 

"We know COVID exists in our community. We're at a fairly high level of COVID burden and we really want people to be protected from all respiratory viruses, especially going into the winter," said Johnson. 

On average, there are between 600 and 700 flu-related hospitalizations a year in the city. Last year, there was just one. Johnson says they're not expecting that to happen again. 

"My greatest concern is people are interacting more than last year. Last year we had a lot of restaurants weren't at full capacity. People were more concerned about COVID," said Johnson. "Last year people were protected by all respiratory viruses because of the precautions that were in place specific to COVID." 

Drive-up flu shots will also be available at the health department's COVID vaccine and testing site in the Menomonee River Valley. 

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