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Boston Public Health Commission Encourages Residents to Get Flu Vaccine

Flu shots are free and widely available in Boston 

The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) is encouraging residents, especially children and families, to get their annual flu shot as flu season approaches. The flu vaccines are highly effective at lowering the risk of getting sick and preventing onset of severe symptoms. Both flu and COVID-19 vaccines will be essential for keeping yourself, as well as those closest to you, safe this winter.  

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 people 65 and older, pregnant people, people with chronic medical conditions, and children under age 5. Pediatric intensive care units and children’s hospitals in Boston are already experiencing noticeable increases in patient volume because of the new school year and changes in the weather.  

The combination of high rates of COVID-19 and flu could put serious strain on Boston’s health care system, especially emergency care, which is why BPHC is asking residents to get up to date on their vaccinations early in the season.  

"Getting your annual flu shot is one of the best ways to stay healthy this winter as we prepare to spend more time indoors with friends and family. Being vaccinated against the flu and staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations are essential for preventing severe illness,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “If you get the flu, remember to stay home to avoid spreading it to others and to get plenty of rest and hydration to support your recovery.”  

Flu vaccines are widely available throughout Boston. Two free flu vaccination clinics will be held at City Hall in room 801 on Wednesday, October 12, from 9am to 1pm and Monday, October 17 from 1pm to 5pm. Walk-ins are welcome and free COVID-19 vaccinations will also be available during both clinics.  

Appointments to get a flu shot can also be made at your local pharmacy, at community health centers, with your primary care physician, or at a clinic sponsored by one of the Boston’s hospitals. Community-based organizations also regularly host free flu vaccine clinics around the city, so residents are encouraged to keep an eye out for one in their neighborhood. More information about flu vaccines is available online or by calling the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050.  

Anti-viral treatments that reduce the severity of symptoms are also available for both the flu and COVID-19. If you are sick with what you believe is the flu, contact a healthcare provider to see what options are available.

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