Ducey says vaccines more important in the age of coronavirus
PHOENIX, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Gov. Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.) raised a red flag Monday about another potentially deadly illness besides coronavirus.
Ducey and some of the state's leading health authorities came together to warn Arizonans about flu season.
“The overlap of COVID-19 and flu season presents a perfect storm — and we aren’t taking any chances,” said Governor Ducey. “We are approaching this fall with a proactive mindset and plan of action to limit the impact of the flu and preserve hospital resources. I’m grateful to all our partners among health care, businesses, universities, public health and more for their help getting more flu shots to more people this year — especially those from underserved communities. I urge all Arizonans to get their flu shots. It’s never been more important to do so.”
In 2019, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) documented some 950 cases of influenza. That's three times the number of cases seen in 2018 when just 290 cases were reported. State Health Director, Dr. Cara Christ says this year the state's taking a proactive approach to fighting the flu.
Watch Gov. Ducey's full press conference here:
“Every Arizonan who can get the influenza vaccine should get it right away,” said Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ. “The influenza vaccine is safe and is the best prevention tool we have against the influenza virus. We need everyone to do their part to stop the spread of influenza and COVID-19 in our communities, starting now.”
Christ says the state is doing more than encouraging Arizonans to get their flu shots. It's also making sure there are enough vaccines to go around, and enough places to get them.
The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment system (AHCCCS) will allow certified pharmacists to provide flu shots to children enrolled in the program, and it will cover the cost. In addition, AHCCCS will also provide an incentive for participants to get immunized. It will give each of them a $10 gift card.
“It’s important that all Arizonans have access to the flu vaccine this year, and we’re working especially hard to reach underserved communities across the state,” said AHCCCS Director Jami Snyder. “The vaccine is safe and important — and it is readily available at pharmacies and health care sites throughout Arizona. Thank you to the pharmacies and providers that are getting the vaccine to Arizonans and keeping families safe and healthy.”
The state is also considering making the vaccine available at coronavirus test sites. In addition, it's working on an outreach program that would provide businesses with the means to provide workers with in-house flu shots.