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Boston Public Health Commission Encourages People to Get the Flu Shot Ahead of Flu Season

BOSTON– September 22, 2023 – The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) is encouraging all residents ages 6 months and older to get their annual influenza (Flu) vaccination as flu season approaches. Flu vaccination is safe and highly effective at lowering the risk of illness and severe disease requiring hospitalization.  

Getting the flu vaccine in September or October helps ensure strong protection from the virus before peak flu activity begins. As it gets colder, the risk for infection and severe illness increases.  

The most common symptoms of the flu are fever, chills, cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, muscle or body aches, headache, fatigue, and in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea. Flu is highly infectious and can lead to severe illness, hospitalization, and death, especially among higher risk groups, including children younger than 5 years old, adults aged 65 and older, pregnant people, and people with chronic medical conditions.  

“Getting your annual flu shot should be at the top of your fall to-do list because vaccination is the best way to decrease the risk of severe illness and hospitalization from the flu especially if you are older, very young, pregnant, or have a weakened immune system,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “If you are at higher risk and develop flu symptoms, reach out to your health care provider. Treatment may be available. ” 

Flu vaccines are widely available throughout the city and are often covered by insurance, including MassHealth. Visit your local pharmacy, community health center, or contact your primary health care provider to set up an appointment. The new flu vaccines are also available for free at BPHC’s standing clinics at the Bruce C. Bolling Building in Roxbury and at City Hall. Walk-ins are welcome, no appointments or proof of insurance are needed.  

  • Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building, 2300 Washington St., Roxbury 

    • Open Thursdays - Saturdays from 12 pm - 6 pm  

  • City Hall, Haymarket Room (2nd Floor) 1 City Hall Square, Boston 

    • Open Mondays from 7 am - 1 pm and Wednesdays from 12 pm - 5 pm  

Additionally, residents can find other local flu and COVID-19 vaccination sites by using the CDC’s vaccine finder tool.   

If you do not have health insurance, or if co-pays are a barrier, call the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050. Residents can also use the Health Line for information on transportation services to vaccine sites.  

The Bruce C. Bolling Building and City Hall are also offering free COVID-19 testing and will soon have the updated COVID-19 vaccine. On September 12, the CDC recommended updated COVID-19 vaccines for everyone ages 6 months and older to protect against the latest variants of the COVID-19 virus. The updated COVID-19 vaccines should be available within the coming weeks. BPHC will share more information about their availability soon. Most health insurances, including MassHealth, will cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine, but people can contact their provider with any questions. People can also call the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050.  


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