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Help A Taxed Health Care System; Get Your Flu Shot

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane public health officials are urging people, more than ever this year, to consider getting flu shots this fall.

Dr. Deborah Wiser, the chief clinical officer for the Community Health Association of Spokane, or CHAS, says, on the individual level, flu shots lower the chances that people will contract the flu, and even if they do, they help to lessen the severity.

But this year, Wiser says, flu shots could have another benefit. They could help to relieve pressure on a health care system that’s already strained.

“On many years during flu season, our hospitals fill with influenza patients, depending on the year. These folks use the same equipment to pull them through the illness. They use the same beds, the ventilation equipment and the staff to support them. These are the ICU beds, the very same ones, that we’re using for our Covid patients," she said.

If this turns out to be a severe flu season, Wiser says hospitals could be overwhelmed.

She says CHAS is looking at some innovative ways to encourage people to opt to get flu shots this fall, including outdoor clinics.