With cooler temperatures, the risk of respiratory illnesses rises, but there are now more tools available to keep people healthy. As the fall respiratory virus season begins, the following seasonal vaccines are recommended:
Every year, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recommends the flu vaccine for anyone age 6 months and older. This is especially important for those at highest risk of experiencing severe symptoms, including older people, people with chronic health conditions, people who are pregnant, and young children.
RSV is a respiratory syncytial virus. It’s a common respiratory virus that usually causes cold-like symptoms, but it can be serious. Infants and adults 65+ are more likely to develop severe RSV and need hospitalization.
This season we have new ways to help protect those most at risk. Everyone 60 and older is encouraged to talk to their doctor about getting a yearly RSV vaccine. This approved RSV vaccine can protect older adults against serious RSV complications, especially those living in group settings. Additionally, pregnant women are recommended to receive a RSV vaccine which would help protect babies through their first 6 months of life. Parents of infants and children under two are also encouraged to talk with their child’s pediatrician about receiving protection from RSV.
Walworth County Public Health does not provide RSV vaccines at this time. RSV vaccines may vary in availability, so please discuss with your healthcare provider on eligibility and availability.
The vaccination provides protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death among everyone, but especially among people most at risk, including adults 65 and older, people who are pregnant, and people who are immunocompromised.
You are eligible for the new vaccine if it has been at least 2 months since your last COVID vaccination, and if you have never received a COVID vaccine.
Where you can get vaccinated flu and COVID
- If you are insured, call your doctor or pharmacy to get your fall vaccines. Additionally, you can visit vaccines.gov to find vaccine locations and book an appointment.
- If you are uninsured or underinsured, Public Health may be able to provide an updated COVID-19 or flu vaccine. Call to verify eligibility and vaccine availability at 262-741-3200. You may find the Public Health immunization schedule here. Other providers, including some pharmacies, may also provide no-cost vaccines.
Additionally, here is what you can do to prevent the spreading of respiratory viruses:
- Stay home when sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Know the symptoms of fall respiratory viruses. Symptoms can include a cough, fever, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, shortness of breath, fatigue, chills, body aches, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed, you can order free at-home COVID-19 test kits from covid.gov/tests. If you already have an at-home test kit, check the expiration dates at https://bit.ly/expdateCOVID as many of them have been extended. If you have COVID-19, visit https://bit.ly/positiveguidance for the latest guidance.
Please note: The vaccine and eligibility requirements are up to date as of 10/31/2023.
This content is free for use with credit to the Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health and a link back to the original post.