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Local health officials urge early flu vaccinations

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison and Dane County health officials stressed the importance of getting a flu shot and getting it early for the upcoming flu season.

At a news conference Monday, they said while flu shots don't protect against COVID-19, they are proven to reduce the risk of flu cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

"For now the best we can do is do anything we can to minimize people who have fever, headaches, muscle aches and coughs. Because unfortunately COVID-19 and influenza have a lot of similarities," said Dr. James Conway, the immunization program medical director at UW Health.

Those who spoke at the news conference noted a difference with flu vaccines this year. You won't be able to get one while you have COVID-19 symptoms, while positive for COVID-19 or awaiting test results.

Public Health Madison Dane County plans to offer a drive-thru flu shot clinic at the Alliant Energy Center. It will be for people six months and older who don't have insurance or are on Badger Care. The target date is early October.

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