CT to Supply Free Flu Vaccine for Every Child in State: Official

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Health officials have stressed the importance of getting a flu shot this season and they announced efforts Friday morning on how to make sure more people have access to them.

Dr. Deidre Gifford, the acting commissioner of the Department of Public Health, said the state Department of Health is working with local health departments to get a flu vaccine at no cost out to communities so residents with no insurance or no means to pay can have access. The state is also supplying flu vaccines at no cost for every child in the state, she said.

“(F)or the first time, this year, we are supplying  vaccine through the state for every child in Connecticut to get a vaccine at no cost through the Connecticut Children's Vaccine Program,” Gifford said.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, doctors say protecting yourself from the flu will help keep you and others healthy and will lessen the burden on the health care system, which could see an increase in people affected by the coronavirus or the flu this winter.

The same measures that are recommended for reducing the spread of the coronavirus, including social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing face masks, may also help limit the impact of cold and flu season.

"It's particularly important this year to think about getting your flu vaccine because as we want to make sure that at the same time we're seeing increases in COVID around the state that we don't also see a bad flu season," Gifford said.

"That would be difficult, obviously for individuals, but it would also be difficult for our healthcare system, emergency departments, hospitals, clinics, etc.," she added.

Gifford joined Gov. Ned Lamont in Meriden on Friday morning to make that point clear and visited a flu shot clinic and Lamont said he would would receive a flu vaccine while he's there.

Gifford said she wanted to get three messages across:

"One, it's safe. Two, it works and three is that everyone should get one," Gifford said.

Lamont said symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar and he wants everyone to get a flu vaccine so there is no confusion.

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