The state health director says more than 100,000 Missourians become sick from the flu, during a typical year.

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams briefs Capitol reporters in Jefferson City on October 15, 2020, as Governor Mike Parson listens (photo courtesy of the governor’s Flickr page)

State Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams tells Capitol reporters that Missouri is outpacing itself from a year ago, in its number of flu shots.

“We’ve looked at our data through September 25, which is the eighth week in our flu season and we’re up 19 percent for flu shots,” Dr. Williams says.

DHSS notes that symptoms of flu and COVID-19 significantly overlap one another. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, headaches and chills.

Dr. Williams spoke at Wednesday’s Capitol press conference in Jefferson City, where he joined Governor Mike Parson. The governor is encouraging all Missourians to consider getting a flu shot.

“The First Lady and I received our flu shots every year, and this year is more important than ever,” says Parson.

DHSS is urging you to get the flu vaccine by the end of the month. The agency says fewer than half of Missouri adults typically get a flu vaccine.

Dr. Williams has emphasized that it’s crucial to ensure Missouri has the capacity to care for COVID patients. He says flu vaccines are important to the COVID-19 fight, saying Missourians need to do whatever they can to prevent a strain on the state’s health care system.

DHSS says the single, best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine annually.

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