DHS calls on Wisconsinites to get vaccinated before holiday season

Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS)
Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS)
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 4:55 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - With the holiday season and cold temperatures in our midst, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services held a video conference to issue an alert to Wisconsin healthcare providers to get everyone their recommended vaccines including the COVID-19 booster and influenza vaccine.

With respiratory viruses such as COVID-19, influenza, and RSV circulating at high levels nationwide, the 2022-2023 respiratory season has the potential to be severe, especially for young children and older adults.

“So as we get now into the fall, where we’re urging our partners in the healthcare sector in primary care in hospitals and public health departments and everyone across the state to get their COVID-19 vaccine and their influenza vaccine to prevent disease as the weather changes, and we’re seeing more viruses circulate,” says Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer, DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases.

Dr. Jasmine Zapata, Chief Medical Officer in the DHS Bureau of Community Health Promotion said there are preventative measures people can take that are easy to do and go a long way in keeping everyone safe. “One of the first things is just a reminder to avoid contact with people who are sick, making sure that everyone in the household is washing their hands for at least 20 seconds. In particular, for those who are worried about RSV, it’s really important that children work to avoid touching their face as much as possible, in particular, their eyes, their nose, and their mouth. And one final one is very important in the household to take measures to work to disinfect surfaces that are commonly used and touched regularly.”

State Influenza Coordinator Tom Haupt says, “As far as influenza activity, just in the past two weeks, we have doubled our number of cases. And we’re starting to see more and more hospitalizations.” He added that the vaccine for COVID-19 does not protect anyone against influenza RSV nor does the influenza vaccine protect against COVID-19 or RSV. They are specific vaccines made for specific diseases.

To listen or watch the DHS briefing in its entirety, click here or visit dhs.wisconsin.gov.